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Illegal sand extraction a threat to river dolphin

Illegal sand extraction a threat to river dolphin

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  16 March 2018 12:00 AM GMT

Speaker to lead inspection team

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, March 15: A high-level delegation of the Assam Assembly led the Speaker Hitendra th Goswami will soon make a visit to the Kulsi river to see how illegal extraction of sands from the riverbed is posing a grave threat to survival of river dolphin.

The Speaker Goswami while responding to the issue raised by the Congress MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed during the Question Hour of the ongoing Budget session of the Assembly on Thursday, asked Ahmed to make arrangements for the visit. Goswami expressed grave concern over the threat posed to the survival of river dolphin due to sand extraction and said that there is a need to visit the site to make a spot assessment of the situation.

The Kulsi river, a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra, passes through Chaygaon Assembly constituency in Kamrup district currently represented by Ahmed.

Earlier, Ahmed informed the House that aquatic species of the Kulsi river, especially river dolphin, have become victims of illegal extraction of sands from the riverbed by miscreants. He alleged these miscreants use powerful machines for extraction of sands from the riverbed which result in massive sound pollution as well mixing of poisonous machine oil with the river water. He said such pollution in Kulsi river has already claimed lives of many river dolphins. Ahmed said while the local residents claim that the Kulsi river is now a habitat of about 70 river dolphins, Aaryak, an NGO has counted about 25 dolphins in the river. He said a deep rooted sand racket is very active in and around the Kulsi river and the Government’s action to uproot the racket is hugely idequate.

State Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma while responding to the issue admitted existence of an illegal sand racket in Kulsi river. She, however, expressed helplessness in uprooting such a racket as sand miscreants often turn violent whenever the Government initiates any actions against them.

Brahma even said that the local DFO and other forest officials are often warned by the sand mafia not to take actions against the later. She said that the Government with the help of NGOs are creating awareness about the need to protect river dolphins. She said that the Government is also making arrangements with NGOs to conduct a survey to count the exact number of river dolphins.

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