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HC lens on lake fish deaths

Media glare on the sudden death of around 200 fish earlier this week in Jayanti Sarovar, at the heart of Jamshedpur’s Jubilee Park, prompted Jharkhand High Court on Thursday to start a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL).

A division bench of Chief Justice R. Banumathi and Justice S. Chandrashekhar issued notices to the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, the landmark lake’s civic guardian and Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco as well as East Singhbhum deputy commissioner to file affidavits on the matter.

The case will be heard on May 15.

Expressing concern over the health of the reservoir, the high court bench asked state pollution control board and Jusco to immediately swing into action and stop the mortality of aquatic life.

The court also asked for reasons behind the fish deaths.

On May 6, The Telegraph had published a report on “Lake funeral for 200 fish”.

According to the report, weeds and algae consumed dissolved oxygen content in the water at night, leaving little for the fish to breathe. Also, recent Nor’wester showers had driven sludge and polluted groundwater into the 10-acre lake.

Depleting oxygen, rising effluents as well as change in water temperature together led to the fish deaths in hundreds, Jamshedpur-based experts and anglers had said.

Anglers said the fish, weighing between 1.5kg and 25kg, succumbed in the lake.

On May 5, when The Telegraph had contacted Rajesh Rajan, the spokesperson of Jusco, he admitted fish deaths occurred due to toxic water gushing into the showpiece lake from inlets.

“Polluted water from city areas entered the lake through inlets. We are testing water samples collected from near inlets at our lab to find out exact contents. We are also planning remedial measures such as a pit near the inlet so that solid wastes do not gush into lake through accumulated rainwater,” Rajan had said then.

Jamshedpur Angling Club secretary Geoffrey Bonjour said they had sprayed Toximar, a medicine that neutralises pollutants in water, on Sunday evening, but the 20kg was too little for the 10-acre lake.

Worryingly, the landmark lake is also getting shallow, with its sides barely two-feet deep at present.

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