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Fishes' death still a mystery

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 18.04.12
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Shillong, April 17: The state government is yet to ascertain the cause of death of fishes in two rivers of West Khasi Hills, even four days after the incident. It was on April 13 that dead fishes were found floating in Kynshi and Rilang rivers near Ranikor.

There were also reports of villagers, who consumed fishes from these rivers, suffering from dysentery. Three varied theories are doing the rounds as the possible causes for the death of fishes. One possibility is the acid mine drainage from coal mines to the rivers in the West Khasi Hills like in Jaintia Hills.

Other probable causes are the spillover effects of uranium exploration in parts of the region by a private firm or fish poisoning by those engaged in fishing.

While the deputy chief minister in-charge of mining and geology, Bindo Lanong, cited holidays from Friday to Monday as the reason for delay in finding out the exact cause of the death of fishes, the Meghalaya Sate Pollution Control Board, which usually carries out tests in rivers to assess the pollution level, said it did not have proper equipment to test whether the fishes died because of radiation.

Earlier, when fishes had died in Jaintia Hills, the board had conducted scientific studies and published reports on two occasions that the cause of the death of fishes was because of reckless coal mining in the district. Lanong told reporters today that the mining and geology department has sent geologists to find out the cause of the death of fishes in the West Khasi Hills.

“We have also sought a report from the Shillong office of the atomic mineral directorate to find out whether the phenomenon has anything to do with radiation owing to uranium ore exploration,” Lanong said.

Moreover, officials of the pollution control board have also reached the spot to conduct tests, he added.

West Khasi Hills deputy commissioner S. Kharlyngdoh said the district administration on its part had carried out an inspection of the rivers on Saturday and collected samples of water and dead fishes for tests.

The doctors who visited the spot today held a meeting with the villagers to find out whether they are suffering from dysentery after consuming the dead fishes.