Industrial hub or Biodiversity trove? – What is your choice!

Industrial hub or Biodiversity trove? – What is your choice!

Asansol – Durgapur industrial region is popular for its contribution to the Indian economy through its coal and industrial production. But apart from this economical importance the area is also famous for its cultural and ecological value. Churulia, situated in Asansol is the birthplace of thr rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.  The entire area is based over the river basin of Ajay and Damodar River, thus there is a geographical influence on its economical and cultural growth.

Durgapur Barrage

The area is situated in the newly created district Paschim Barddhaman, sharing its border with Bankura, Birbhum and Purba Bardhaman districts. Security of job and demand of man power are the two main attractions for many people coming from different districts, sometimes states.

Durgapur Steel Thermal Power Station Andal

Many heavy and small industries are situated in this industrial region along with some famous colleges and one university. These are the social perspectives of the region. Beside this the region is attractive to many wildlife enthusiasts and photographers for its rich biodiversity and different natural photographic destinations.

Lesser Adjutant Stork

The Asansol and Durgapur subdivisions are the nest to 212 and 239 species of birds respectively. Some among them are very rare like Western-crowned Warbler, Forest Wagtail, Blue-capped rock thrush etc. Plants like Indian banyan, Sal, Palash, Sacred Fig tree, Tamarind, Mango, Jack fruit, Asian palm and Eucalyptus are the home for so many winged beauties. During my 6 years study I have recorded 157 species of birds, 62 species of Dragonflies, 55 species of butterflies, 14 types of frogs and many others.

Forest Area of Andal, Bardhaman

Butterflies and other insects are attracted by different types of herbs and shrubs like Eupatorium, Cassia, Lantana and Parthenium. The wide range of geographical diversity is triggered by the varied flora and fauna along the river banks of Ajay and Damodar flowing across this region.

The entire region can be divided into ten parts – Asansol riverside area, Asansol town area, Asansol outskirts, Coal mine area of Raniganj, river side area of Ajay and nearby villages, Andal town area, Andal forest areas (Tilabani range, Ukhra, Jhanjhra up to Madarbani range), Durgapur township, Durgapur forest area (town outskirts, Pardohi forest area up to Garh forest) and the most important – Durgapur barrage area.

Raniganj coal mines area

The entire area houses varieties of birds, some of which are migratory.  Among 157 species of birds 45 are migratory (winter migrant, summer migrant, passage migrant and vagrant). Some important raptors (birds of prey) are Western Marsh Harrier, Pied Harrier, Peregrine falcon, Red-necked falcon, Short-eared Owl, Osprey etc. Initially the Best place for finding a Short-eared owl was the paddy field adjacent to the Andal adjacent aerodrome.

Andal Aerodrome

Unfortunately each and every grassland habitat has been damaged due to their project of the newly constructed Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport and the different housing complexes. Overgrown population, emission of excessive toxic effluents from industries and increased temperature are the other edaphic factors. The habitat destruction, less food grains are also some important cause of destruction of this ‘biodiversity trove’. Soil and water pollution due to industrial hazards and heavy metals like led, zinc, copper, manganese etc also contribute largely to this destruction.

OCP Raniganj

The environment of the concerned region is changing suddenly and as a result living organisms are facing problem. People like us are trying to explore this diversity and create awareness about the industrial region, the pollution and population hazards. We are still trying our best to keep the ray of hope alive and to inform people about the importance of birds, snakes, frogs and insects in our life. The key to our existence is the biological chain, of which we – the human beings, and the flora and fauna are equally important components. So, it is obvious that any damage caused to this chain will be irrevocable and the price paid will be our very existence.

Amar Kumar Nayak