Sambalpur and the adjoining area has always been a bird’s paradise. Thanks to the green environment with a plethora of flora and the huge waterbody of Hirakud reservoir. Although some industrial units have come up since the last couple of years with their complementary polluting outputs contributing to the destruction of birds’ habitats, there are many breeding and feeding habitats still left for the birds to survive. Though some species are less visible now a days, no particular species has depleted to the extent of extinction. In such a situation,a group of individuals vowed to revive the birders club – Chadhei Club Sambalpur.
The Club was initially founded by Late Sri Surendra Mohan Pradhan in early 2010. Also fondly known among the birders of Sambalpur as the “Birdman of Odisha”, he made a wide range of documents on birds and their habitats. An avid birder and a school teacher, he spent a major part of his life documenting the birds. Spending on costly equipment for birding from own’s pocket was not easy. Since no sponsors were available in those days, he devised his own equipments to collect data or to take snaps of birds. Before his demise, he was able to gather many important documents on birds apart from authoring a book on the nestings of birds. The book was jointly authored by his only son Sri Ashis Pradhan and another Sri Nayar. The book was widely appreciated among bird lovers after being published by the Government of Odisha.
The Birdman of Odisha, Surendra Agyan(Sir) was not only a birder but also a great motivator towards bird conservation. He was able to motivate many poachers to stop poaching and join for the cause of conservation. As narrated by Ashish Pradhan, once during their birding on the banks of river Mahanadi, they noticed a group of teens searching for eggs laid by birds. They were regularly collecting the eggs for food and therefore were a source of information about the nesting sites. Surendra Agyan immediately offered the teens an alternate. He motivated them to refrain from harming the nests and stop collecting eggs. Instead he would offer them eggs purchased from the market.The teens were happy enough and became his friends for lifetime. Later on, the teens became a major source of information about nests and were actively associated against poaching.
After his demise, the club he had envisioned stopped its activities due to the lack of motivation. Efforts to register the club as a society were foiled by a lack of followups and red tapism. Interestingly, once even the official who had come for verification of the club address, didn’t get convinced and insisted on showing the birds. He misunderstood the club as some thing to be a zoo. However, the club was finally registered.
The members of the Chadhei Club again started gathering in remote areas in the outskirts of the town in search of birds. The vigour was slowly returning back with new members joining the club. Regular visits to different sites and creating awareness in the society, the members were tirelessly putting in their efforts to take the Club to a new height. And then, the pandemic of Covid-19 struck upon them. Site visits of the club were again hampered. But the doors were not yet closed.
One of the most important events was pending since long – the launching of a Logo for the club. A logo was finalised by the club which was decided to be inaugurated in a grand manner.A young creative artist Ms Sriya Sibadarshini designed the logo for the club. Struggling against lockdowns and pandemics, the club finally inaugurated the logo. Although a physical gathering was not possible but all members and guests joined on a virtual platform to inaugurate the Logo online.
And finally, on the 5th of Jun, 2021, on the occasion of World Environment day, the logo of Chadhei club was inagurated to the public eye. It was also posted on the social media of Chadhei Club. Chadhei Club with the new logo can now be followed on Koo, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The aim of the club has not changed from what it was envisioned as by the founder and Birdman of Odisha Sri Surendra Agyan. He had left behind him a team of dedicated bird lovers, who in this inaugural function again repeated their vows towards conservation of birds and their habitats.
(The club can be contacted by mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The club can be followed on Twitter, Koo, Insta and Fb)