Migratory birds re-discover ‘once dead’ Khushal Sar after decades

Migratory birds visit Khushal Sar lake after three decades.
Migratory birds visit Khushal Sar lake after three decades.

People ecstatic, say scene fills them with hope

Irfan Tramboo

Srinagar, Jan 24: After decades, Khushal Sar lake has witnessed the arrival of migratory birds which has happened after the water body was brought back to life through sustained efforts under the public-private partnership for nearly over a year.
This year, the residents said, the sight of Khushal Sar is quite different after the presence of the migratory birds was witnessed, which, they said, has happened for the first time in the last several decades.
“It was a dying water body and was largely turned into a garbage dumping spot; even though the migratory birds reach the water bodies and wetlands in Kashmir every winter, there was no question of these birds preferring to stay at Khushal Sar, because its condition was dilapidated,” Muhammad Yasin, a resident said.
The residents said that they feel happy about the change while noting that the flocking of the birds indicates that the water body has finally regained its lost glory.  “This urban water body was a dumping ground and was on its last throes; it is now witnessing a good number of migratory birds flocking in; It is good to witness the scene, it is encouraging,” the residents said.
Pertinent to mention here that the arrival of migratory birds from Central Asian countries and other parts, started arriving in Kashmir in November, however, towards the middle of January, the birds also started heading to Khushal Sar apart from other water bodies.
The locals credited the change to the sustained efforts carried out by Nigeen Lake Conservation Organisation (NLCO) under Mission Ehsaas. It was under the mission, in support of the administration and other concerned departments that the water body was cleaned and the flow of the water was restored by ensuring that the muck and garbage were pulled out from the lake.
“It was largely this community-led approach that made this positive change happen; under the Mission Ehsaas-II, the traditional navigation was also restored and a part of the lake from the Zadibal side was restored with an effective cleaning with the help of the administration,” the residents said.
The head of NLCO Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo told Excelsior that he was happy with the change and that it is indeed a sight of great relief to see migratory birds rediscovering the Khushalsar Lake.
“It is a miracle happening, after nearly 30 years of vandalism, that the birds are flocking to the lake; it was a thing of the past and was completely forgotten,” he said.
Wangnoo said that a lot more needs to be done to restore and rejuvenate the urban water bodies while expressing hope that the administration will initiate the revival process expeditiously for more change to be witnessed on the ground.