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Desiltation boost to Beldih Lake catch

Jamshedpur anglers can soon hook it happy, albeit after more than six months.

The three-acre Beldih Lake, which was in news earlier this year after depleting dissolved oxygen in its receding waters killed huge quantities of fish, is all set to get a fresh lease of life. Tata Steel subsidiary and the placid lake’s civic guardian Jusco has decided to conduct desiltation work after nearly a decade.

S.K. Roychoudhary, the vice-president of Jamshedpur Angling Club, conceded that Beldih’s muddy bed was last cleaned around 2003. “But, over the years, the lake has been choking on muck in the absence of a proper desiltation drive. The dirty waters took heavy toll on the fish. However, we hope things will change for the better. Our members can expect to hook a prize catch by mid-2013,” he said.

In the past, a bacterial scourge too had claimed many of Beldih’s fish. “The lake will be disinfected now and it will no longer be a watery grave,” added club treasurer S.K. Biswas.

A senior Jusco functionary said it would take around a week for desilting the lake and then, six months to replenish its stock of fish.

B.N. Mohanty, head (parks and gardens), Jusco, said the stock of fish would have to be removed and auctioned first before the desilting drive begins.

“We have called an executive committee of the club tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the process. We expect work in the lake to begun soon. After the bed is cleaned, fries can be released in the waters,” Mohanty, who also heads the angling club, said.

Biswas confirmed that the executive committee meeting on Wednesday evening would work out logistics involved in auctioning the present stock of fish to facilitate desilting work.

He added that they were adopting a cautious approach vis-à-vis auction. “We had problems when fish were auctioned after partial desiltation of Jayanti Sarovar six years ago. The bidder did not pay us any money and went away with the whole stock. This time, we will ask bidders to deposit the money first,” he said, adding that the auction would boost their coffers.

The Jamshedpur Angling Club conducts activities at Jayanti Sarovar, Beldih Lake and Bara Lake.

A portion of Bara Lake was cleaned some months ago, resulting in good catch for members.

Angling activities are expected to resume at Beldih Lake in May-June next year. According to club rules, both Beldih and Bara lakes remain closed from January to June.

“Fries will be released in January and they will take six months to weigh half a kilogram. Members can expect prize catch because the fish will be able to see the bait clearly. We are happy,” said Arbas Khan, a veteran angler.

The desiltation project can be seen as the second victory of the angling club, which has successfully stemmed night gangs that had been robbing Jayanti Sarovar of its stock. Constant vigil by club members in the lake area, plugging of the entry point of gangs at Tata Steel Zoological Park and night patrol by police and zoo officials saved the sarovar and its fish.