Lake Town police arrested 27 people on Saturday on charges of stealing fish from the last surviving lake (number 3) in Block B of the area. Local people had earlier informed the police about illegal fishing in the lake by youths from places like Dakshindari, Jawpur and the adjoining areas but the police did not take any action.
The police finally stirred themselves on Saturday evening, after the locals, along with Surjya Mal, who has taken the lake on lease from the fisheries department for pisciculture, lodged a written complaint.
“We saw a large number of people fishing in the lake and I told the local residents that the police must be informed. After all, lake no. 3 is the only beautiful waterbody we now have in Lake Town. Lake no.1 is almost dry and a water supply booster station has come up on lake no. 2,” said B.R. Gupta, former chief secretary and a resident of Lake Town for over 30 years. Lake Town derives its name from three large lakes it had between the 1960s and the 1980s.
Local people said the South Dum Dum Municipality should protect the lake and the surrounding greenery. Along with the adjoining park, it is the only breathing space in the locality.
“The lake and the park are a relief for us and our children. The civic authorities, as well as the police, should take great care to protect what we have,” said Biplab Saha, a resident of Lake Town for over 30 years.
Officer-in-charge Sitaram Sinha of Lake Town police station said fish were being stolen from the lake for the past several months but no action could be taken because neither the local people nor the lessee had lodged a written complaint.
“We took action after Mal lodged his complaint on Friday night. We think the best way to protect the lake is to erect a fence around it to prevent outsiders from reaching the banks,” he added.
Civic officials, however, tried to evade responsibility by saying that they had not received any complaint from Mal. “We never received any complaint from the lessee. So, we could not take any action,” said Srihir Bhattacharya, South Dum Dum Municipality chairman.