Animal board wants to know why kabootar khana was closed

Updated: Dec 14, 2019, 07:30 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

Locals planning to stage a protest against the shutting down of the 40-year-old pigeon feeding space, but BMC firm on their stand

Residents opposing the move met the H West ward officer on Friday
Residents opposing the move met the H West ward officer on Friday

Following the closure of Khar's Kabootar Khana by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) H west ward office, the Animal Welfare Board of India has shot a letter to the civic body demanding a detailed report on the matter. In a letter written to the Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, the board has stated that there have been complaints about the closure affecting over 2,000 birds and that about 200 birds have died in the last few days since it has been shut.

On December 13, mid-day had reported about the locals demanding the opening of kabootar khana, which has been shut since December 10 as the birds are allegedly dying of hunger. However, the BMC ward office has maintained its stand that the kabootar khana is illegal and cannot be allowed for feeding the birds, calling it as a threat to public hygiene. The ward office is also going to initiate a probe against the trust that was given the job of beautifying the traffic island, where the kabootar khana now stands.

However, a section of locals in Khar is upset with the decision and is planning to stage a protest against the BMC's decision. A delegation of a few locals visited the H west ward on Friday to meet officials and ask them to consider the letter of the Animal Welfare Board allowing the birds to be fed.

Furkan Shaikh, Mumbai general secretary of Nationalist Student Congress said, "We met the BMC officials again, but they are reluctant. We also showed them the letter of Animal Welfare Board but there was no positive response. The birds still come to the kabootar khana every day looking for food and sit on the roads. The closure has left the birds starving and this is cruelty. We will protest against this in large numbers and show the BMC that locals want the kabootar khana to run as it has been for 40 years."

On the other hand, explaining the scenario, BMC's assistant municipal commissioner of H west ward, Vinayak Vispute, said, "This activity is illegal and hence it was closed. It was mainly after the residents complained about public hygiene. Now a few people are demanding that it should be opened again. But our stand of closure remains." When asked about the letter from the Animal Welfare Board and about when the detailed report about the issue would be submitted, he said, "I am yet to go through the content of the letter to comment about it."

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