TEZPUR, Sept 22 � The common citizens here have expressed grave concern over the ongoing act of destruction of Hazarapukhuri heritage site by a section of people by building a guest house on its bank. The aforementioned guest house is being built by cutting a large portion of the hillock-type bank of the historic water tank with amount of Rs 10 lakh provided by the Zila Parishad.
It may be mentioned here that Hazarapukhuri is a 70-acre pond, which is believed to have been dug in the 19th century by king Harjar Verman. It is the third-largest water tank in the city of Tezpur. During the British rule, the banks of the tank were used for horse racing. Over the years, the field beside the pond has been developed into an area for various activities such as sports, cultural events, leisurely strolls etc. Swimming classes are also held in the pond itself.
Interestingly, the area has also developed into an important habitat and breeding ground for various birds, both resident and migratory avians. While interacting with this reporter, office-bearers of a frontline NGO �Helping Out People Everywhere� (HOPE), Pallabi Chakrabarty and Pranjit Saikia said that as per their study, �birds play various roles in maintaining the ecological balance of Nature. However, like many other natural habitats, this important habitat is also threatened with human pressure; activities like littering of the field and water, habitat destruction, noise pollution during cultural events, hunting of the birds and the recent sanctioned building of a stadium and concrete swimming pool in this very important bird area is posing a grave danger to these winged denizens.�
Moreover, the area has been a habitat of different species of local and migratory birds like common myna, jungle myna, great myna, chestnut-tailed starling, pied myna, spotted dove, rock pigeon, yellow footed green pigeon, white wagtail (migratory), citrine wagtail (migratory), Fulvous whistling duck (migratory), great cormorant (migratory), Indian cormorant (migratory), cattle egret, intermediate egret, Indian pond heron, grey heron-(migratory), red-vented bulbul, coppersmith barbet, blue-throated barbet, black-hooded oriole, white-throated kingfisher, barn swallow, scale-breasted munia, oriental magpie robin, house sparrow, common tailor bird, common kingfisher, Rufous treepie, green backed tit, white breasted waterhen, green bee eater, fabulous breasted woodpecker, oriental darter (near threatened), black kite, red-breasted parakeet (near threatened), rose ringed parakeet, Asian barred owlet and brown shrike (migratory).
However, allegations have been rife that a section of unscrupulous people have always been active to destroy its beauty and heritage. Among other conscious people, noted photojournalist and bird watcher Barlin Saikia and Pulin Bhattacharya, president of SAVE are of the opinion that Hazarapukhuri is not a simple pond, rather it is a mark of identity of the historic Tezpur city and its people.
�We have to save its heritage. Nobody would be allowed to hurt its dignity,� they maintained.