Agra: The Yogi Adityanath government plans to develop the Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary as an eco-tourism destination.
While inaugurating the Bird Festival in Agra on Sunday on the occasion of World Wetland Day, UP Forest and Environment Minister Dara Singh Chauhan said that environment conservation was among top priorities of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the state government.
He said that the forest cover in UP has increased from 6.7 per cent to 9.12 per cent according to the report of the forest survey of India released recently.
The minister, however, expressed concern over the depleting ground water level which is affecting the flora and fauna. He said the state government is working on a plan for conservation of ground water and wetlands.
“Officials have been directed to take care of the ponds and lakes. People will also have to realise their responsibility towards water conservation. Agra is a well-known tourist destination around the world. The government is working on a plan to promote eco-tourism,” he stated.
The minister further said that all possible efforts would be made to develop the Soor Sarovar bird sanctuary.
By organising the bird festival, state government wants to spread a message for protection of birds, animals and their habitats, he said, adding that the Keetham Lake would also be cleaned.
Six out of 10 Ramsar sites of the country are in UP. A Ramsar site is a wetland site, designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The Keetham Lake, or Soor Sarovar, is spread over 100 acres on the Agra – Delhi highway (NH-2).
Migratory birds from different states of the country, from coastal areas and foreign lands, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Siberia, Russia, visit Keetham every winter.
Keetham Lake was declared a National Bird Sanctuary March 27, 1991 by the UP Forest Department.
Some of the rare migratory birds which come to the bird sanctuary include banded stork, black headed ibis, common teel, spoon bill, open bill stork, grey and black crowned heron, common pochard, pelican, painted stork, flamingo, Brahmini duck, among others.
A large number of bird watchers and ornithologists have already arrived in Agra to see the migratory birds.