Notwithstanding the political row over fixing of contour and removal of encroachments, the Forest Department’s efforts in restoration of Kolleru lake, one of the largest fresh water eco systems of international importance, has helped in return of local and migratory birds.

The budget demand pertaining to Forest department which was tabled in the Assembly the other day had this interesting piece of information. The department says the birds that returned included endangered species like Grey pelicans, Painted storks and Open bill storks. These birds had almost shunned the place owing to rapid deterioration in the lake’s eco system.

The Forest Department has listed conservation of Kolleru wildlife sanctuary as one of the major tasks taken up by it. With the intervention of the Supreme Court, 1776 illegal fish tanks covering an area of about 44,700 acres in West Godavari and Krishna districts have been demolished. This was an achievement considering the fact that the lake is spread over 2,25,250 acre upto +10 ft contour.

With removal of encroachments, the eco-restoration work is in progress. It is being taken up by the department in coordination with other sister departments like Revenue, Irrigation, Roads and Buildings, Fisheries, Pollution Control Board and Rural development. The objective is to see that the lake gets back its pristine glory.

An Integrated Management Action Plan with an outlay of Rs. 995 crores spread over a period of five years has been prepared through consultant, Wetland International South Asia, New Delhi.

This will be implemented after its approval. The locals who have been affected by the ‘Operation Kolleru” are being rehabilitated by the Revenue Department and some employment opportunities have been created by the Forest Department.

Thanks to the lake restoration efforts, endangered species like Grey pelicans, Painted storks and Open bill storks return to the bird sanctuary