The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 17 , 2010
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Expert bid to improve aquatic life in Ganga
- Study reveals side channels of river have a sound eco-system, are safe habitat for dolphins

Bhagalpur, Nov. 16: Conservation of the side channels of Ganga is the need of the hour for a better water life, including the dolphins, say experts.

Foreign experts Michele J. Wiley and Omair from Michigan University of America spent over a week here to study the characteristics of Ganga, with the experts from Vikramshila Biodiversity Research and Education Center (VBREC), a wing of Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU).

They observed that the side channels of the river have proven to be a more suitable habitat for dolphins and other water creatures rather than the main stream of the river.

They also conducted a study on the eco-system of the river and inferred that the side channels of the river are the best habitat for the Gangetic dolphins as well as other creatures. “We have tried all research efforts to look into the potentiality of the beds of side channels of the river and also compared it with the bed of the main stream. We were thrilled to find that the great potentiality of the beds of the side channels of the river, which is enriched with faunas and floras besides chlorophyll, a major component for the survival of the floras in compression to the bed of the main stream,” Wiley said today.

“The government should formulate a special action plan for the conservation of the flora and fauna of the river, especially the side channels so that the dolphins and life in water can be well protected,” Omair said.

The two foreign experts strongly suggested for the conservation of the river, with special focus on the Vikramshila dolphin sanctuary, which is located on its stretch from Sultanganj-Pirpainty at Bhagalpur.

Coordinator of VBREC and a senior professor of TMBU, Sunil Choudhary said the institute and the Michigan University in 2009 jointly proposed to conduct a survey on shifting of the course of the river and its impact on the flora and fauna on the riverbed. “We conducted a survey on the 20km stretch of the river from Mirjapur (Sultanganj) to Vikramshila road bridge across the river at Bhagalpur and were surprised to find that the side channels were more enriched than the main stream,” he said.

He added the side channels, which since long remained neglected were enriched because of its well-balanced eco-system. Fish consumes algae, which are found in abundance at the side channels of the river than the main stream. Dolphins, in turn, live on the fish. “Similarly, the quantity of chlorophyll gradually decreased from side channels to the main stream of the river,” Choudhary said.

He said all the data and survey samples have been collected for further research in this connection. Choudhary also stressed on the need for a concrete conservation policy for the side channels of the river. “After an analysis of our survey we would send a proposal to the central government for the conservation of the side channels of Ganga,” he said.

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