BMC expels walled in area, water troughs of the famous 'Kabutarkhana'. The Jain groups and animal activists say taking without end long-held practice adds up to mercilessness.
The central government’s Swachhta Hi Seva has left animal lovers and religious communities in a fold. The cleanliness campaign was launched in India on Saturday 15th September and will continue till Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. This has restricted people from feeding pigeons at Gateway of India’s famous kabutarkhana.
The concerned authorities wanted to ensure that Gateway’s promenade was neat and clean for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interactive televised address which was set to happen on Saturday morning. It was attended by Bollywood's well-known personality Amitabh Bachchan and business magnate Ratan Tata. The BMC restricted people from feeding the pigeons four days earlier, dismantled the makeshift kabutarkhana, a large barricaded enclosure, and took away water troughs.
Paras Jain, member of a local temple trust stated, "This is unfair. We have been dropping grain at this spot for decades. The issue concerns the religious sentiments of the Jain community. The BMC must restore the kabutarkhana. Else, we will go on a protest."
Animal activists were unhappy with BMC's decision. Sunish Subramanian Kunju, founder of NGO Plant & Animals Welfare Society, Mumbai, said, “Birds have become used to getting food at particular feeding spots. If that is suddenly stopped, then they will panic. The BMC must not take such arbitrary steps, and must bring out a clear policy on kabutarkhanas, instead."
The local BJP corporator Makarand Narwekar stated, "They are as iconic as the monument itself. To completely stop feeding is not fair. We have requested the BMC to restore the feeding area and the water troughs. The BMC has agreed to allow feeding at a smaller portion of the promenade. We will ask it to give enough space so that those feeding pigeons will not be inconvenienced."