ONGC dedicates its Foundation Day to the house sparrow

House Sparrow(Passer_domesticus)-Male
House Sparrow(Passer domesticus)-Male

Dehra Dun : Concerned at the large scale decline in the number of house sparrows, which were once a common sight in almost every house spread through the country, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, a navratna company, in a rare move dedicated its Foundation Day to the bird, in the hope that the effort will help increase their dwindling numbers.

The Corporation which completed its 56 years of glorious existence on Tuesday last launched the ‘save the sparrow’ drive with its CMD Sudhir Vasudeva presenting one nest to ED (chief employees relations) Sundar Lal, which along with others will be put up in sprawling green campus of Tel Bhawan, in the fervent hope, that the sparrows will adopt them as their homes and increase their numbers.

The project to install about 100 predator and accident proof nest boxes, within its national headquarters and in some other huge complexes that it has in different parts of the city, is being done in cooperation with ARCH ( a birding NGO) in the city has been undertaken with the aim that the Doon Valley, in the years to come will earn for itself the pseudonym ‘city of house sparrows’. It is hoped that the nest boxes will first stabilize and then help the sparrows to multiply.

Commonly, it is felt that the number of mobile towers being put up by the mobile companies is the major reason for the declining number of sparrow that is now a major concern, as it is an indicator of the continuous degradation of the environment around us. But Bannerjee of ARCH said that a major factor also was the fact that new architecture has done away with sky lights in the house, while doors and windows are kept closed, which prevent the bird from nesting in houses, as they did for years.

He said that other factors included increased use of insecticides and pesticides, area specific predation, noise and vehicular pollution, food scarcity, disease, lack of seed food during winters and also during the summers. “By conserving the sparrow, we will be conserving the entire urban flora and fauna and their decreasing numbers is a warning to take corrective measures, before it is too late”, he maintained.

Bannerjee said that the first World House Sparrow Day (WHSD), the first campaign by the common man to save a common species from the brink of extinction. “The house sparrow was once the most common bird in the world, but over the past few years, it has been on the decline both in the urban and rural habitats”, he added.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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