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Rs. 1 crore sanctioned for developing Bonal Bird Sanctuary near Surpur

T.V. Sivanandan


Surpur king Raja Pam Naik built Bonal tank in the 17th Century

Water is provided from the Narayanpur Left Bank Canal


Bonal: The State Government has sanctioned Rs. 1 crore for the development of the Bonal Bird Sanctuary near Surpur in Yadgir district, the second largest bird sanctuary after Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary in Mysore district in the State.

The Forest Department officials said that infrastructure in the sanctuary will be developed.

The sanctuary is a favourite jaunt for the migratory birds from distant countries.

At least 21 species of birds visit the tank which is situated in a rural environment surrounded by rocky hillocks and irrigation rich agricultural fields.

Deputy Commissioner K.G. Jagadeesh told The Hindu that the work of preparing a blue print for developing the Bonal Bird Sanctuary on the lines of the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary has been handed over to the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB).

The KHB has the authority to appoint an expert consultant to prepare the blue print. So, it has floated the tenders inviting the proposals from the consultants.

The migratory birds which frequent the sanctuary included purple heron, white-necked stork, white ibis, black ibis, brahminy duck, bar-headed goose, Indian shag, snake bird, purple moorhen, Indian moorhen, large egret, pond heron, and cattle egret.

It was only after a long struggle by the nature and bird lovers of the region and the Forest Department pursuing the issue doggedly that the State Government declared the Bonal tank as a bird sanctuary a couple of years ago.

Till then the tank was a haven for poachers who indiscriminately hunted the migratory birds and the fishing activity in the tank posed a permanent problem for the birds.

The Bonal tank was built by the Surpur king Raja Pam Naik in the 17th Century primarily to serve as an abode for peacocks that were in abundance in the region and a water hole for the wild animals.

Later, the capacity of the tank was increased during the time of Captain Meadows Taylor.

The biography of Taylor “Story of My Life”, notes that the waste weir of the tank was extended by 12 feet and the capacity of the tank was increased to 1,600 acres with an average depth of 12 feet.

According to the figures available, only in 800 acres of the tank there is water and a lot of silt has accumulated in the entire tank.

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