| Endangered bird meat
6th February, 2003
It has been alleged
that the menu served at the birthday dinner, organized
for IAS officer Priyanabrata Patnaik at the Bhubhaneswar
club on the 17th January 2003, included endangered waterfowl
meat. A long list of influential individuals from the
bureaucratic, political and business arena and some
journalists attended the dinner.
The accusation suggests that nearly
100 birds, of species protected under Indian law, were
purchased from poachers, who operate around Chilka Lake,
to serve at the dinner party. The species that were
apparently on the menu included gadwalls, shoevellers,
wigeons, pochards and pintails. Chilka Lake is a designated
Ramsar site of international importance. The prevalence
of local poaching, fueled by markets like that in Bhubhaneswar,
continues to deplete the rich bird life at this lake.
Renowned conservationist and the State
Coordinator of the Indian Bird Conservation Network,
Biswajit Mohanty has demanded a CBI inquiry to identify
the people responsible. Presently, the Chief Wildlife
Warden of the state has been commissioned by the Orissa
government to look into the allegations. However, it
is felt that only an agency independent of the state
government would be able to do justice to the inquiry
which involves the state’s bureaucracy.
This dinner is not the first of its
kind. A few years ago a high profile dinner in Andhra
Pradesh had faced similar accusations.