The Chief Minister made the announcement at the recent conference of Collectors and police officers

The Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary in Tirumanur block in the district will soon get a facelift.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa made an announcement to this effect at the conference of the Collectors and Superintendents of Police held in Chennai recently.

Karaivetti is one of the biggest tanks in the State with a water spread area of about 454 hectares. During the monsoon, the water depth could be even 10 feet and birds could be sighted hardly a few metres from the 4-km bund.

Although birds from several foreign countries had been flocking here for long, it was notified as a sanctuary only in 1997 under the Wild Life Protection Act.

Located 35 km from Ariyalur, this is basically an irrigation tank. It is fed by the Pullambadi canal which gets water from Mettur dam. This is supplemented by the northeast monsoon from October till January.

Of the 188 species of birds recorded in the sanctuary, 82 are water birds. The sanctuary is one of the most important fresh water feeding grounds for migratory water birds. The water birds arrive at the tank from September after water is released from the Mettur dam.

According to Forest Department sources, during the course of the first half of the migratory period, a large number of teals and ducks are drawn to the spot as the water level is deeper. As water starts receding, larger birds such as painted storks and open bills start thronging.

Water in the tank is at the maximum storage in April when the maximum number of birds arrive at the sanctuary.

Being an irrigation tank, there is no natural forest within the sanctuary. “Karuvel” plantations had been raised by the Social Forestry wing. The trees are used for roosting and nesting by birds.

Following the announcement by the Chief Minister, District Collector E. Saravanavelraj visited Karaivetti tank on Friday.

He was accompanied by Durai Manivel, MLA, and Ganapathi, Revenue Divisional Officer.

According to Mr. Saravanavelraj, the most important development planned is planting of more number of trees on the tank bunds to enable the birds to roost and at the same time help the visitors get a glimpse of the birds from a close angle.

The Collector said the Chief Minister had ordered construction of a complex comprising waiting hall, dining hall, drinking water facility, toilet blocks, and a clock room. This project would be executed soon.

The district administration would take steps to supply adequate water throughout the year. As the sanctuary was in a remote village, steps would be taken to introduce adequate buses from different parts of the district, Mr. Saravanavelraj said.