Strategic retreat is sometimes the best offense. Citizens of Hyderabad are doing just that as ballooning pigeon population has taken over the city. “We are shelling out ₹2,000 per apartment to get the netting done. As we have 90 apartments, we have bargained the price down to ₹ 9 per sq ft,” says G. Ravi Kiran, a resident of an apartment complex in Hyderguda. “We have been forced to go for the netting as almost all the surrounding apartments have fixed the mesh which has lead to a rise in the number of pigeons frequenting our apartment,” he says. While feeding places have multiplied throughout the city over the past few years, more and more pigeons are taking over unlikely roosting places. “We found a pair and a small chick on the V-junction of a drainage pipe. There was almost no nest except a few sticks,” says Nirmala K., who lives in an apartment complex in Rama Krishna Nagar.
This panic is turning out to be a money-spinner for a clutch of entrepreneurs who have created a business opportunity by covering balconies, ventilator shafts and common areas with pigeon netting. “We are using nets with 40 mm holes to keep out pigeons. The demand is high. We have already covered about 1,000 apartment blocks over the past two years,” says Maitresety Madhav, who took up netting business three years ago.
“If netting is with 1.5 mm thread, the guarantee is for three years and if it is 2.5 mm thread, we guarantee it for seven years,” informs Mr. Madhav.
“I worked in Bengaluru for two years and have set up my own operations in Hyderabad now. We have even covered a temple with pigeon netting,” says Salman Raju, who says the cost varies according to the thickness of the thread.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is caught out of the game, as the feeding spots have sprouted all over the city. From a traffic island at Ameerpet to a parking spot at Masab Tank to the disused Mussalam Jung Bridge in the old city, pigeon feeding spots have multiplied.
“We have put signages in bigger parks, but people still feed pigeons in smaller parks. We are trying to tell people not to stop feeding pigeons,” said an official from Urban Biodiversity wing of the GHMC.
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