Sarayu Roy and KK Sharma (wearing cap) inspect Jayanti Sarovar in Jamshedpur on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
The high court suo motu PIL on Thursday over Jayanti Sarovar’s fish deaths earlier this week in Jamshedpur’s landmark lake prompted a senior BJP leader and a city ornithologist and environment expert to launch a parallel examination on Friday.
Sarayu Roy, BJP veteran, former Jamshedpur (West) MLA and patron of environment NGO Yugantar Bharti, as well as its member K.K. Sharma, also head of zoology department at Jamshedpur Co-operative College and Ornithological Society of India (Bihar-Jharkhand) member, inspected the 10-acre lake inside Jubilee Park on Friday.
“I came to carry out an inspection on why some 200 fish died suddenly on Monday. But, after inspection, I am alarmed about the beloved lake itself. Virtually the city’s thermo-regulator, the lake is seriously ailing. The corporate sector (read Tata Steel subsidiary Jusco) must take up urgent remedies,” said former Jamshedpur (West) MLA Sarayu Roy after a three-hour inspection.
He added that they would take a sample of lake water on Saturday for analysis at the Yugantar Bharti lab in Sidroul, near Namkum in Ranchi, which is accredited by the JSPCB.
“After studying the report, I will file an intervention petition into Jharkhand High Court’s suo motu PIL over fish deaths before May 15, when the case will be heard,” added Roy.
Jharkhand High Court also issued notices to JSPCB, Jusco and East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal to file affidavits on fish deaths. In response, Kaushal wrote to Jusco on Friday asking for reasons.
Roy said the idyllic appearance of the lake belied grim truths. Jayanti Sarovar is shallow, algae and weeds have their stranglehold on dirty water. Overall, the lake is urgently in need of desilting, recharging and cleaning up.
Sharma added the the lake water displayed “classic symptoms of high turbidity, biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand and suspended and dissolved organic matter,”. “Those are technical terms. But in layperson language, they mean the lake is crying out for help,” Sharma said.
He added they found birds like egret, black drongo and kite, who usually live on fish, hunting their prey on surface water.
“That’s abnormal. No fish will swim up to an egret. This proves that water is so shallow that fish are exposed to their predators. Also, turbidity is high due to domestic and industrial sewage coming to the lake from four inlets,” Sharma added.
Sharma shared an anecdote to prove his point. “We asked an angler today (Friday) to show us his catch. He held out a 2kg common carp. The gills of the fish were covered with oil. It proved the presence of industrial and domestic effluents in the lake.”