Gangtok: The Sikkim Ornithological Society, Save Sikkim and other environmental organisations of Sikkim on Monday submitted a representation to power minister Mingma Norbu Sherpa, who is also the MLA of Daramdin assembly constituency, over a proposal to shift the proposed parking lot project at Hilley in West Sikkim district.
The groups raised concern over the protection of the great parrotbill, a bird species found at Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary under Daramdin constituency. Hilley is one of the gateways to the sanctuary. Other parrotbills found in Hilley are black throated parrotbill, brown parrotbill and fulvous parrotbill.
Nosang M Limboo, president of Sikkim Ornithological Society (SOS), said that the power minister acknowledged their concern over the issue. “While thanking the organisation, the minister assured us to place the issue personally with the forest minister,” he added.
“Disturbing the habitat means a decrease in the bird population, which is already low. We must focus on increasing the population of a special bird like great parrotbill,” said Limboo.
The great parrotbill (Conostoma aemodium) is a bird species of the Sylviidae (old world warbler) family.
According to Nosang, a concrete building has been proposed in the parking lot project replacing the bamboo jungle in the area. The parking lot project is under the JICA project, he said.
“The whole area has to be cleared and the bamboos have to be removed for the project. The bamboo thicket is the bird habitat where the birds come to breed and search for food. The concrete construction will damage the breeding spot. The other disturbance is that once the parking lot is constructed, the movement and breeding of the bird will be disturbed. Vehicular movement will be a huge disturbance,” said Nosang.
SOS is supported by the local youths of the area who are promoting eco-tourism in the area in this cause, said the organisation.