Tribune News Service
Fazilka, May 9
Peacocks, which used to be a major attraction for residents and outsiders a few years ago, have said "goodbye" to this town bordering Pakistan. The reason: large-scale cutting of trees to make the way for residential colonies. Moreover, the local Badha lake, where they used to breed and grow, has turned dry due to the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned.
Fazilka, once headquarters of one of the biggest subdivisions of undivided India and Punjab, was famous for having a respectable population of peacocks. But nearly seven peahens and peacocks died in one go in 2000 here after consuming eatables sprayed with pesticides and the death toll kept on increasing.
A section of residents while talking to the Tribune alleged that though peacocks started disappearing from this town for various reasons, the wildlife authorities did nothing to protect them against environmental degradation.
SP (CID), Bathinda, Ajay Maluja, who remained the DSP of this subdivision for four years - from 1997 to 2001-said dozens of peacocks were permanent residents of official residences of the DSP, SDM and others during that period and people used to roam in the civil lines area to have their glimpse.
On the other hand, Karamjit Singh, present DSP of the town who has been living in one of the same houses, said since he joined here on June 19, 2009, he had not seen any peacock so far.
Ferozepur district wildlife officer Harbans Singh Dhillon said the wildlife department was not aware of the fact that Fazilka town was having a good population of peacocks and hence no census was ever carried out. Dhillon added that even he was surprised that why peacocks had disappeared from the town. He said that peacocks were present in the neighbouring Abohar subdivision also.
Navdeep Asija, secretary (administration), Graduate Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF), said the organisation was trying to bring back peacocks in this town by reviving the lake and creating a huge green cover by planting shady, fruit bearing and other trees in the area.