Last update:

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, a struggle to save green belt of Pune city, India

Citizens of Pune came together to save the Salim Ali Bird sanctuary from the construction of road and metro passing through it. Many trees were cut down. The sanctuary is already damaged as a dump site.


The biodiversity-human conflict is between the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Residents of Pune city, mainly due to the construction work of a road network and the metro going on, which is destroying one of the most important green belts of the city. Located on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Salim Ali Biodiversity Park, is named after the great ornithologist Dr Salim Ali, who visited the sanctuary some decades ago. Dr Salim Ali along with Mr Prakash Gole came up with the idea of building the sanctuary along the banks of river Mutha. The natural bunds in the river stop the flow of the fish and thus attract the birds in the sanctuary. The area, many centuries ago, belonged to the Mahadev Kolis who also started creating artificial bunds along with the natural bunds to catch fish. The sanctuary is also known as the Yerawada bird watching point among local bird watchers. The area spread across 20 acres of land is home to a variety of birds including terrestrial, aquatic and birds of prey.  Large flocks of Egrets, Black-winged Stilts, Ruddy Shelducks, Coots, painted and Woolly-necked Storks come here once a year. Little Cormorants, Ibises, River Terns, Purple Swamphens, Sandpipers and other migratory and winter visitor birds are also seen in the sanctuary [2]

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, a struggle to save green belt of Pune city, India
State or province:Maharashtra
Location of conflict:Pune
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land
Biological resources
Domestic municipal waste
Live Animals
Tourism services
Fruits and Vegetables
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is spread across 20 acres of land of which 4.25 acres are currently being used by the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Pune Metro Rail project as of now. The Pune Metro Rail Project is a rapid transit system under construction in many of the areas of Pune. It is an initiative taken by the PMC and its construction started in the March of 2018. A part of the metro line which goes through Nagar Road is going to pass through the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.

See more
Project area:8
Level of Investment:1,200,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:30,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2018
Company names or state enterprises:Pune Metro Rail Project from India - Construction of the metro in the sanctuary is one of the reasons the conflict started.
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from India - The PMC is constructing a road and the metro in the sanctuary which is the main reason for the conflict going on
Relevant government actors:Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Friends of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Human chain
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Noise pollution, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Global warming
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Activists have given some alternative routes for the road and the metro to pass through, rather than it passing through the sanctuary.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The protest from the citizens have proved that they are aware of the environmental impacts that will be the result of the road and metro passing through the sanctuary, but the PMC officials don’t seem bothered by it and have no intention to stop the construction in the Sanctuary which is going to affect the biodiversity anyway.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002
[click to view]

Environment Protection Act of India, 1986
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Pune Mirror, "Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at death’s door, claim experts", Jan 22, 2019
[click to view]

[5] Hindustan Times "350 trees may be axed for road construction at Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Pune", Author: Parth Welankar, Dec 17, 2018
[click to view]

[7] Times of India "Citizens join hands to save Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary", Dec.9, 2018
[click to view]

[3] Hindustan times "Pune metro route to no longer pass through Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary", Jan 24, 2019
[click to view]

[4] The Better India, "Here’s Why Punekars ‘Give a Hoot’ About the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary", Dec. 24, 2018
[click to view]

[6] Hindustan Time "Pune metro states no option, to go through Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary", Author: Prachi Bari, Dec. 26, 2018
[click to view]

[1] Hindustan Time, "309 trees in Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary cut without assessment study, says Pune’s civic body", Jan. 22, 2019
[click to view]

[8] Save Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary from becoming a garbage dumping ground by PMC
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Official Facebook page of the sanctuary
[click to view]

Other documents

Photo 1 This picture shows the construction of the road in the sanctuary
[click to view]

Photo 2 Bird life in the sanctuary
[click to view]

Photo 3 Trees cut for construction
[click to view]

Photo 4 Garbage dumping in the sanctuary
[click to view]

Photo 4 garbage dumping in the sanctuary
[click to view]

Photo 2 construction of the road in the sanctuary
[click to view]

Photo 3 trees cut for construction
[click to view]

Photo 1 bird life in the sanctuary
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Isha Tophkhane, Kalpavriksh
Last update08/10/2019
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.