Bhubaneswar: The 2nd National Chilika Bird Festival kickstarted at Mangalajodi , Chilika (largest brackish water lake of Odisha) with the aim to promote Ecotourism and preservation of birds in the state. The two day festival includes photo exhibitions, seminars and visit to Nalabana Island.
The event began with the commencement speech by Shri. Vishal K. Dev, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Odisha Tourism.
Shri. Vishal K. Dev said: “We are glad to have everyone here at the festival. We want to promote and raise awareness about Chilika being the largest repository of migratory birds in Asia. Our focus is to make Odisha as one of the hotspots for Ecotourism. We plan to make this event bigger and better in future. “
Shri. Suresh Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment, Government of Odisha said: “We are extremely happy to have participants from all over the country. This year we have around 1 million migratory birds present in Chilika. We are recognising the efforts by the locals in preserving Chilika Lake and want to empower them by helping them with livelihood in form of sustainable tourism. Every participant of the Chilika National Bird Festival is an ambassador for this place and we hope the message spreads.”
Shri. Ashok Panda, Minister Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha inaugurated the Photo Exhibition. Other dignitaries present were Shri. Prasanna Kumar Patasani, Member of Parliament, Bhubaneswar, Shri. Rajendra Kumar Sahoo, MLA Khurda, Shri. Nirmal Chandra Mishra, Collector and District Magistrate, Khurda and Shri. R P Singh, Director, Odisha Tourism.
Chilika Development Authority also released its book ‘Fish and Shellfish Diversity and it’s Sustainable Management in Chilika Lake.’
Around 145 bird watchers from all over India are in attendance for the event.
Andrew Sebastian, co-founder of Asian Birds Fair was the first technical speaker who enlightened the audience about the importance of preserving birds and praised the government for organising the festival.
B. Sivananinthaperumal, Deputy Director of Bombay Natural History Science, Tuhinansu Kar, Wildlife Researcher and Samrat Gowda , IFS ,Additional Chief Executive , Chilika Development Authority also graced the event as technical speakers.
The National Chilika Bird Festival Award was awarded to Mangalajodi Ecotourism Group for their active involvement in bird protection. This year Chilika received record number of birds footfall as a result of removal of illegal gheries from the lake by the Forest department.
The event is being co-organised by Odisha Tourism, Forest and Environment Department and Chilika Development Authority.