Mangalavanam bird sanctuary has never been out of the news, at least in recent times, although it has been for the wrong reasons.
First, a move to set up a parking bay for the new Kerala High Court Complex in the buffer zone of the park triggered a controversy. Then came an attempt to set up an eco-township near the park.
Even before these controversies arose, migratory birds had not visited the sanctuary for two consecutive seasons.
The opinion of bird enthusiasts and ornithologists was divided on the reason for the avian visitors abandoning the park. While some felt that increased predator pressure might have scared the birds away, a few others were of the view that shortage of feed could have been the reason.
The pressure of urban development on the park in the form of high-rise buildings and the proposed residential and commercial complexes have evoked an unprecedented public reaction. Organisation after organisation came out in the open to protect the park. It eventually took the form of a mass resistance movement.
Haritham, a documentary on Mangalavanam, is the celluloid expression of the evergreen impression that the park has left in the minds of people.
The documentary, produced by Gothrabhoomi films and Jacey foundation and directed by Rajendraprasad, has captured the green relevance of the sanctuary in an effective way.
The challenges faced by the mangrove vegetation inside the sanctuary, the environmental importance of the vegetation and the need for protecting the wetlands has been included in the documentary.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar; Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achutanandan; Maneka Gandhi, a campaigner on green issues; Kerala's mangrove man Kallen Pokkudan; and the environmentalists U.K. Gopalan, C.R. Neelakantan and C.M. Joy express their views in the documentary on the need for conserving the green patch.
The documentary, thus, successfully becomes a green proclamation, which will have a bearing on the life of present and future generations of this city.