Follow Us:

Activists in Odisha want ropeway project dropped over ecological concern

The Odisha government has plans for the longest ropeway of the country in Chilika Lake.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Raising concern over the proposed ropeway in Chilika Lake under the Parvatmala scheme, social activists and environmentalists in Odisha have urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to scrap the project.

The Odisha government has plans for the longest ropeway of the country in Chilika Lake.

Ten ropeway projects have been envisaged by the Works Department, Chilika will have two – the longest 5.3 km from Prayagi Krushnaprasad Road to Kalijai temple and 3.34 km from Jhankikuda Road, stated one of the social workers and writer, Anil Dhir.

Expressing concern over the project’s potential impact on migratory birds’ nesting and feeding habitats, Dhir noted, “There is a possibility that some groups of birds will avoid the alignment area and move to other areas of the lake. Some birds may be attracted towards the ropeway for food.”

As a Ramsar site, Chilika comes under the Wetland Conservation and Management Rule, 2017 and strict prohibitions for conversion for non-wetland uses apply. The rule says that wetlands should be conserved and managed in accordance with the principle of ‘wise use’ as determined by the Wetlands Authority.

Studies in New Zealand have confirmed birds dying and getting injured by glass sided cable cars, said Dhir.

“The fragile ecology of the lake is already under stress. The construction of accommodation units, eateries, parking lots and public amenities for tourists will alter the landscape,” asserted Dhir.

The coastal highway alignment too needs to be changed, he added.

“Chilika attracts nearly a million waterfowl every winter.  The lake cannot be a mass tourism site as it would upset its fragile ecosystem. Birds are very sensitive to anthropogenic changes and setting up such aerial structures will impact them immediately. I urge the Chief Minister to drop this harmful project in the interests of our valuable bird life,” said environmental activist, Biswajit Mohanty.