Identifying new State Bird and State Animal

Reorganisation Act 2019 , brought with it, certain requirements and tasks to be accomplished which progressively has been attended to by both the Union Territories though gradually but a few still remain to be completed. One of them is not recognising a “state Bird” and a “State Animal ” for the two UTs and in this respect , nothing practical seems to have been done as if the exercise entailed going through very difficult layers of proposals , counter proposals and constituting of committees to decide the issue. Agreed, most of the administrative priorities during the period under reference were devoted to and expended on fighting the Carona virus crisis but that could no longer become an alibi for most of the issues to remain unattended. Was it because of attaching no importance to the issue – state bird and state animal – on the face of it, as if looking not that important? If it is so, may we clarify that each and every state /UT has its distinct culture, topography, wild life, flora and fauna, certain features of identity , climate , clothing , food habits etc and choosing anyone distinct and special as its identity symbol is paramount which cannot be kept officially unidentified .Usually , the chosen and identified symbols are birds and animals. Such identified birds and animals are important part of biodiversity of the country and in particular of the concerned state or UT.
The erstwhile J&K state had the black necked crane , a rare species as state bird and Kashmir stag or ‘Koshur Hangul’ equally a threatened species as state animal but after its bifurcation into two Union Territories, neither of them can claim both the symbols of identity though there is no hard and fast rule anywhere prescribed except the symbols should represent and project the distinct identity of a state or a UT. It is astonishing that the issue should not be settled as almost all states and UTs have such symbols of identity except , as on date, Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh Union Territories. Generally, the selection could zero in on such a bird and an animal as ”state symbols” which fall in endangered or vulnerable categories. There are many in both the UTs.
The importance given to the state Bird and the State Animal can be gauged by the fact that it is a cognizable offence to hurt or cause death to these state insignias . The other major purpose of identifying such species in a particular state or UT is as to how these symbols could be protected and saved from extinction. Koshur Hangul or the Kashmir stag now confined to the Datchigam National Park in Kashmir only , otherwise found in many parts of North India, speaks about the tale of its extinction and perhaps who are responsible for the same as for other species too getting gradually extinct.
We are rather amazed to learn that about identifying a state bird and the state animal , discussions in many official meetings took place but a final decision could not be taken . Even we have information that the matter being — as if so much ”intricate, serious and hard ” to crack easily, that it had been decided that the ”difficult” task of identification of the two symbols would be entrusted to a committee of officers . Whether such a committee was constituted even or not, is not known but what is expected is taking of an early action now in the shape of identifying the two symbols for both the UTs by the respective Governments keeping in view the two being the only ones without the same in the whole of the country.