Tiger of MP rivers

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 28.09.11

The BJP may be accused of fishing in the 2G scam’s troubled waters, but not Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

The chief minister of party-ruled Madhya Pradesh declared on Tuesday that the mahaseer would be the state’s official fish, much like the hilsa is for Bengal.

The announcement followed a cabinet meeting that considered a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature suggesting the mahaseer was endangered.

Chauhan said he was allocating Rs 15 crore for its conservation. Madhya Pradesh already has its official bird in dudhraj (flycatcher) and animal in barasingha (swamp deer). Fifteen other states have an official fish, including Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Kerala, Orissa and Bihar.

The mahaseer is often called the tiger of the river because it puts up a strong fight when being taken out of water.

But concerns have swirled in recent years about its dwindling numbers. “A 1962 survey had revealed that 28 per cent of all varieties of fish in the Narmada was mahaseer. Now it is just 10 per cent,” UK Purohit, the director of fisheries, said. The mahaseer, much like the hilsa in Bengal, is relished as a platter favourite.

The BJP, too, has been smacking its lips — at a government note pointing to P Chidambaram’s implicit role in the 2G scam, prompting Union minister Ambika Soni to say the Opposition has been “fishing in troubled waters”.