Nearly 250 egrets and cormorant hatchlings died on Thursday after bamboo trees were felled in Assam’s Udalguri district over the fear of the spread of Covid-19 from the bird droppings.

The trees were felled on an order issued this month by the executive officer of the Tangla Town Committee to five residents.

“The droppings of egrets nesting on bamboo trees in your property have led to unhygienic conditions and could lead to spread of Corona infection,” said the order issued on June 8.

“Residents in the neighbourhood are living in unhygienic conditions (because of the droppings). Therefore, you are directed to cut the bamboo trees in your property, which falls in the town’s area, and help create a healthy environment,” the order added.

After the residents did not cut the trees, the town committee went ahead and felled them on Thursday. This led to the destruction of the egret nests and many eggs, hatchlings fell on the ground.

Photos and videos showing the hatchlings lying dead or injured on the ground went viral on social media prompting Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to direct forest and environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya to inquire into the matter.

On Friday, Udalguri deputy commissioner P Uday Praveen visited the area and took stock of the incident. He has directed the circle officer of the area to prepare a report on the incident.

“We have not been able to ascertain how many hatchlings and birds died as local residents took away some of them from the site after the bamboo trees were felled. We were able to rescue 88 hatchlings on Friday and send them to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga,” Praveen said.

Meanwhile, Goons and supporters of Tangla Municipal Board chairman-cum-Khalingduar MCLA and UPPL leader Dilip Boro have attacked Northeast Now’s Udalguri correspondent Shajid Khan for reporting on the deaths of cattle egrets.

Shajid Khan was attacked by the goons at the site where nearly 250 cattle egrets died.

Khan has urged Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya and DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta to ensure his safety.

“Was attacked by a group of goons in aides of Tangla Municipal Board Chairman at Tangla town in Udalguri district after my highlighting of death of Cattle Egret received widespread criticism. I pray to ensure my safety
@himantabiswa @ParimalSuklaba1 @DGPAssamPolice,” Khan wrote in another tweet.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma directed forest and environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya to order a probe into the death of nearly 250 cattle egrets at Tangla in Udalguri district.

The cattle egrets died after the Tangla Municipal Board ordered to clear the bamboo groves inhabiting the birds in private lands in Tangla town on Thursday.

With inputs from Hindustan Times  and Northeast Now

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