By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 1: Death of fish at the sacred pond located in the premises of Hayagriva Madhava Temple in Hajo has created a flutter in the area.
Locals said they found two dead fish yesterday. Today 52 more dead fish were found floating in the pond, known as Vishnu Puskar.
Fish deaths have become a regular phenomenon in the pond since the last few years, raising questions about efforts of the government and the Archeological Survey of India to protect and preserve the historic site.
Locals said last year too, fish deaths in the pond were reported during this time of the year. Some say water in the pond is getting increasingly polluted, while others feel food stuff like biscuits thrown by pilgrims into the pond for the fish might have led to degradation of water quality.
In 2013, the Kamrup district authorities had started the process of forming an expert committee to recommend plans for developing the pond while keeping intact the fish species inhabiting the water body. However, nothing is known about its progress.
Apart from a variety of fish, around 12 species of turtles are found in the pond.
The Fisheries department had collected samples of the fish found dead in 2013, to ascertain the cause of the mass death, but the report is yet to be submitted.
Research organizations, on the other hand, have demanded cleaning of the pond so that harmful micro-organisms do not infect the turtles dwelling in the pond.
The number of fish in the pond is increasing, resulting in dip in the oxygen level of the pond water. Besides, bacteria and micro-organisms are also consuming the available oxygen. So cleaning and re-modification of the pond in a scientific manner has become imperative, believe local experts.
Meanwhile, locals staged a protest when Hajo circle officer Gujit Roy and BDO Yusuful Rahman visited the temple following the fish deaths. The protestors alleged that Rs 13 lakh was sanctioned to clean up the pond under MGNREGA, but nothing is known what happened to that fund.
Kamrup deputy commissioner Vinod Seshan today asked the circle officer to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within ten days. The DC has also sought a detailed report on the cause of fish deaths from the Fisheries department.
As per historical records, the pond was dug during the reign of Ahom King Pramatta Singha.
The Hayagriva Madhava Temple is situated on the Monikut hill at Hajo, 30 kms west of Guwahati. The present temple structure was constructed by King Raghudeva rayan in 1583. According to some historians, a king of the Pala dysty constructed it in the 6th century. It is a stone temple housing the deity of Hayagriva Madhava.
At this imposing temple, the presiding deity is worshipped as the rasimha (Man Lion) incartion of Vishnu by the Hindus. Some Buddhists believe that the Hayagriva Mahhava temple, best known in the group of Hindu temples, is where the Buddha attained Nirva.
Doul, Bihu and Janmastami festivals are celebrated every year in the temple. Moreover this temple preaches both Hinduism and Buddhism, which attracts Hindu and Buddhist devotees from far-flung places.