Jharsuguda : As winter sets in, Singhabaga in Jharsuguda District is echoing with chirpy cacophony with the arrival of thousands of avian guests to this wetland spots.

Singhabaga village, which is nearly 13 kilometers away from the Jharsuguda District Headquarters which attracts thousands of migratory winged guests visits this place due to presence of large Marshy swamps in this lake, which makes perfect home for the Migratory and resident birds during the winter seasons.

More than 40 species of birds i.e. common coot, lesser whistling Duck, Red Crested Pochard, purple moorhen, while breasted moorhen, water hen, common stilt, laughing dove, fan-tailed fry-catcher, Iora, Northern Pintail, Brown Pochard, Peasant crow, egret and cormorant, Common Spot Bill etc. usually visit every year.

This year, a Bar-headed goose (Anser Indicus) has been sighted in this wetland, which is reportedly the first sighting in the district.

The Singhabaga has emerged as one of the major birding sites in the district since last four to five years, this place buzzing during the winter on the arrivals of several migratory birds. Varying in species, beautiful birds have started flocking the water bodies herein order to protect themselves from the terrible cold of the northern countries.

As per Bird Enthusiast Ashish Shukla, said that Bar-headed goose is found in Central Asia, Himalayan region. They start the migration to the Indian Sub-continent during winter and stay here till the end of the season.  They are one of the birds which can fly even at very high altitude. They come to India and return to their homes by crossing the Himalayan ranges.

Their migration has been a fascination for the birders as they cross the Himalayas on one of the most high-altitude migrations in the world. Their ability to sustain the high oxygen demands of flight in the air that is exceedingly oxygen-thin is exceptional.

He also added that this rare sighting in our district is very encouraging in spite of surrounded by several industries, still, several migratory., State Government and local people should come together to protect such wetlands if we want to see these migratory birds again.

Presently this place is under threat due to proposed railway line construction by the Public sector unit Neyveli Lignite Corporation, for transporting coal from its Talabira Mines located at Khinda village under Sambalpur District.

Local Villagers of Singhabaga and bird lovers of Jharsuguda have been demanding to shift the railway line project and protect the Singhabaga wetlands so that the migratory birds are saved and are not disturbed.

As per the report, approximately 23.67 acres of lands including 4.31 acres of land in Singhabaga Village under Jamera Panchayat and 19.16 Acres of land under Hirma Panchayat will be required for the construction of Railway line which will cross over the area where the migratory birds are visiting.

Earlier, in the year 2019, Rs. 2.25Cr. was sanctioned from the District Mineral Fund for the development of an Ecotourism spot at Singhabaga village, Jharsuguda but still the project has not been executed yet.

“Due to construction of railway line over that migratory bird spot, the place will completely get destroyed and once this place is destroyed than no migratory birds will come, we want District Administration as well as the NLC company officials to Shift the Railway line without hampering the habitat of migratory birds.” Said Prabhat Upadhyay, local resident of Singhabaga Village.

Jharsuguda Divisional Forest Officer Lalit Pujari, “Various Migratory birds are visiting to Singhabaga Village every winter and due to the Railway Project of NLC (Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited) it will surely create adverse impact on the migratory birds.”

However, the Project head of NLC, Talabira Mines, Suresh Chandra Suman, said that, “It has been examined by the Water Resources Department, Govt. of Odisha and given a clearance that we can go ahead with the project after which it has been applied to railway and railway has approved the project. For land acquisition also we have sought clearance from water resource department, they have checked it. Even the alignment of the railway line has been made according to it so that it will not affect the wetland. During planning stage all these things have been studied.”