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Prized Hilsa fish set to travel upstream in Ganges after four decades

Prized Hilsa fish set to travel upstream in Ganges after four decades
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
By Romit Bhattacharyya

Kolkata, Mar 31 (PTI) Hilsa, the darling of fish

lovers across West Bengal and Bangladesh, could be breeding

upstream in the mighty Ganges later this year, after almost

four decades of being locked out by the Farakka barrage across

the river.

A new navigation lock is in the making at the barrage

-- created to save Bihar and West Bengal from flooding and to

generate hydel power -- to enable hilsa breeding in the next

few months.

Fish connoisseurs along the Ganga, up until Uttar

Pradesh''s Allahabad, maybe able to savour fresh hilsa as the

project will make way for their travel upstream from beyond

the Farakka, said a top official of L&T Geostructure.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) had

contracted L&T GeoStructure for the new Farakka navigation

lock in Murshidabad district, as a part the Jal Marg Vikas

Pariyojana, and said it will make a special arrangement to

allow easier passage of the hilsa.

The movement of the popular fish in the Ganges till

Allahabad came to a halt after construction of the old Farakka

navigation lock in 1976, officials said.

"The new Farakka navigation lock is expected to be

complete by June," S Kanappan, Head and Chief Executive of L&T

Geostructure, said.

The Centre had said in 2019 that based on research on

the breeding season of the hilsa, the operation of

navigational lock will be regulated to facilitate their

movement from the Hoogly-Bhagirathi river system upstream to

the main Ganga river and vice-versa.

Kanappan said due to the inefficiency of the existing

navigation lock gate at Farakka, about 280 km from Kolkata,

the IWAI proposed a new one, which will feature modern

features like electro-hydraulic and remotely-controlled

operation of all gates from a control room.

The new navigation lock will entail an investment of

around Rs 361 crore, the officials said.

Hilsa, considered a nonpareil delicacy when fried,

smoked or cooked in mustard sauce, typically travels up the

rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Irrawaddy from the Bay of Bengal

during the rainy season to spawn.

The fish is also found in the Arabian Sea from where

it goes upstream through rivers in Gujarat and Pakistan''s

Sindhu river, as well as in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Vietnam

and China seas.

The peak upstream migration of the fish coincides with

the advent of Monsoon -- July and August -- and continues up

to October and November, according to a 2017 report by the

Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute.

The report had also suggested that a "bypass channel"

be created in the western side of the existing navigational

channel at the Farakka Barrage to facilitate natural upstream

migration of hilsa.

The first phase of the Jal Marg Vikas Pariyojana

covers the Haldia-Varanasi stretch, and aims at developing

fairway and multi-modal terminals, strengthening of river

navigation system and conservation works, the officials said.

PTI RBT JRC

SOM SOM


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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