Several migratory birds including Flamingoes, Bar-headed Geese, Gulls, and Harriers use the lakes as their wintering grounds.. (Representational Image)
The environs of Osmansagar lake, all set to lose its protection offered by GO 111 that the state government is planning to scrap, are not just a wintering ground. It is home to a variety of birds and could well be an important habitat for the critically endangered bird, lesser Florican.
A lesser Florican was photographed near the lake by a birding enthusiast a few years ago. It is a slender and small bird of the bustard family — to which another critically endangered bird, the Great Indian Bustard belongs to — and is listed as critically endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature.
It is also listed as a highly protected species under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Raghunathan, an IT employee and avid birdwatcher, who photographed the lesser Florican on the shores of Osmansagar in 2016, said several endangered bird species can be seen around Osmansagar as also Himayatsagar.
"I was the only one here who could capture sighting of the lesser Florican in 2016. These places are very important birding sites for us. Revoking GO 111 will lead to construction activities and it will ruin the lakes forever. There will be no wildlife to be seen anymore," he said.
Raghunathan said several migratory birds including Flamingoes, Bar-headed Geese, Gulls, and Harriers use the lakes as their wintering grounds. They come to these water bodies to escape the cold of the north during winters.
Ornithologists from the city said the government should conduct an environment impact assessment and take the views of the Pollution Control Board and the Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI) before attempting to scrap GO 111.
They also said they are planning to start a petition campaign along with different NGOs and advocates challenging the government decision to scrap GO 111 in court.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Amar Deep Singh of Deccan Birders said the damage to wildlife and lakes should be assessed by officials.
"As a birdwatcher, I believe that a due deliberation on economic and environment impact assessment is needed before they revoke such an impactful Government Order. The stretch from Himayatsagar to Vikarabad is very fragile and it must be conserved."
"The authorities should also consider the views and opinions of the public and the area’s locals. The catchment areas are very fragile and any boom in construction may destroy these areas forever," he said.
"Osmansagar is an important hotspot for birds as many species canbe found here. It is the second best hotspot in Telangana after Manjeera, with 284 different bird species being seen, while sighting of 254 different species of birds have been recorded at Himayatsagar."
"These places are good for biodiversity not only for birds, but also for a lotof other aquatic creatures. We see very rare birds in Osmansagar because of them being around for such a long time," said Phani Krishna, the vice president of Hyderabad Birding Pals.