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Wide-awake nights at famed park to reel fish in

- Guards, police & anglers plug entry points at scenic Jayanti Sarovar for gangs to get healthy catch

Hook-ups are, well, up, while net gain is down at scenic Jayanti Sarovar, Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur.

Night gangs of fish thieves from Sonari and Mango — some very good swimmers among them — who netted huge quantities of fish from the reservoir between 1am and 3am, are now out, thanks to tighter security inside Tata Steel Zoological Park, a key entry point.

“We have put two guards on the point near Marine Drive where the Jayanti Sarovar outflow meets Subernarekha. This has blocked gangs from sneaking into zoo campus via the watery gate. Regular night patrol by the private agency entrusted with zoo security has also helped matters. Police also patrol three days a week at the Marine Drive end,” said zoo director Bipul Chakravarty.

Jamshedpur Angling Club (JAC) and fish have a tiger family to thank — at least for a jumpstart to zoo security.

Night vigil on zoo campus started after an intruder sneaked into the tiger enclosure — home of Shanti, Raghav and their cub Dona — in May this year.

But JAC functionaries — the club has over 200 members — said they too worked hard for their catch. They kept night vigil on the lake in areas outside the zoo campus in groups of six and 10.

“Our members keep watch on areas outside zoo campus for which we took permission from zoo management as well as district authorities. The gangs are no longer using the Old Court or Jamshedpur Co-operative College ends to sneak inside Jubilee Park,” said Subroto Das, the JAC secretary.

Confirming that catch has gone up, Das said: “Fries from Bagnan in Bengal that were released in the sarovar in July are fully grown now. With no visible instances of theft, our members will now have no room for complaint.”.

JAC anglers, for whom the sarovar used to be a test of patience, are finding the unfamiliar tug on the hook thrilling.

“Not very long ago, JAC members waited for hours with their tackle. Gangs stole sizeable stock at night, so while a few lucky anglers managed two or three fish, most went home empty-handed. But now, fish are biting. I am regularly catching around eight fish,” said veteran angler Mantu Sahu.

“The catch is a satisfactory reflection of how matters have improved. Plugging the entry point from the zoo end is a major achievement as gangs usually entered from there,” said Firoz Ahmed, a Mango-based angler.

Amid jubilation, zoo director Chakravarty asked for caution. “Jubilee Park is huge and porous. Let’s keep fish thieves away from the other inlets,” he said.