Arrival of the black-necked crane

Two black-necked cranes, immortalized in the sixth Dalai Lama’s poetry have arrived in its wintering site in the Pangcheng valley along the Nyamjang Chhu in Zemithang. The arrival of the cranes assumes immense significance, environmentally as well as culturally.
Last year, due to habitat destruction, the cranes did not land though it had come as far as its wintering habitat in Zemithang.
The wintering site has been under tremendous pressure because of sand and gravel mining and disturbances due to construction. If urgent efforts are not put into place to save the 3 km stretch of wintering site along the Nyamjang Chhu River, the cranes might stop coming altogether.
The National Green Tribunal in a landmark judgement on 7th April, 2016 had suspended the environmental clearance granted to the 780 MW Nyamjang Chhu project, the barrage site, submergence of which will destroy the wintering site of the bird.
The appeal had been filed by the Save Mon Region Federation.
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project had failed to record the importance of the wintering site and in fact did not mention the black-necked crane even once.
The NGT in its April judgement further directed the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to conduct an impact assessment of the 780 MW Nyamjang Chhu project on the black-necked crane.
However, the findings are yet to be made public. The findings should be in public domain in order to help formulate policies to safeguard the cranes.
The state government, in conjunction with the local people of the area, needs to work hard to ensure that the Nyamjang Chhu continues to host the sacred birds during winter.