Hyderabad: Metro Rail stations are becoming difficult to maintain because of a most unusual culprit-Pigeons.
Fed by nearby shopkeepers, a growing number of pigeons are finding shelter at Metro Rail stations. The largest number of pigeons are spotted at Ameerpet, SR Nagar, Begumpet, Nampally and Tarnaka stations. With sources of food right outside the stations, the pigeons love to take shelter inside the cantilever sheds and other station areas.
They can be seen sitting on the electric wires from Ameerpet to SR Nagar. Their droppings are becoming a huge menace, affecting station maintenance.
“The bird droppings get absorbed in the tiles, leaving a permanent mark. Extra efforts are needed to erase them. Metro workers have to erase those during every maintenance schedule,” Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited managing director N.V.S. Reddy said.
Earlier, the birds found shelter in window sills and terraces of buildings around Ameerpet and Nampally. But now they are all flocking to Metro Rail stations. Old buildings and apartments have put up nets on their higher floors to avoid the bird menace.
Many commuters, too, have complained to the authorities about the birds.
“We have appealed to the shopkeepers to not feed the pigeons. It is neither good for people’s health nor for the station’s cleanliness,” Mr Reddy said.
In some religions feeding birds is equated with feeding one’s ancestor, so there are a few takers for the advice.
“We cannot leave a bird that comes to our doorstep hungry, for, we believe, it is our ancestors who have come to visit us,” said a shopkeeper at the Ameerpet station on the condition of anonymity.
At the Nehru Zoological park and KBR Park premises and other bird sanctuaries, visitors are not allowed to feed birds. Feeding pigeons is also banned at London’s Trafalgar Square.
Wildlife experts say the habit is more dangerous than people think.
“If a bird feeds naturally, then the population would be in control, depending on availability of food, but if people encourage artificial feeding, there will be undue increase in pigeon population, which would result in territorial dominance, and thereby affect survival of other birds and affect the ecosystem,” said a senior forest official....