Thousands of fish were found dead in the Chambal in Kota district apparently due to low oxygen in the river water caused by stinking waste in it, according to Central Pollution Control Board officials, who collected lab samples on Tuesday to ascertain the real cause of mass death.
Metals and plastic bags were recovered from the stomach of a crocodile, which was also found dead along with the fish in the Nayapura area in Kota, raising concerns about the growing pollution in the river which has of late become a termination point of many drains, Rashtriya Jal Biradari state vice-president Brijesh Vijayvargiya said. The presence of the dead fish and accumulated waste has become a source of stench in the nearby areas for the past few days.
He alleged that around 18 drains were pouring untreated toxic waste into the Chambal.
He attributed this to the pending Chambal River Pollution Treatment project. The project was sanctioned in May, 2010 and was scheduled to be completed by October 2013. However, in the absence of a treatment plant, the river continues to receive an untreated sewage, he said, adding that the district administration and the local self bodies should immediately clear the river of pollutants to avert an epidemic fallout of the waste in the adjoining residential areas.
District collector Ravi Kumar Surpur said that the district administration had sought a report on the fish death from the pollution board which would help take effective action in the matter. Pollution control board officer Rajeev Pareek said that the board had drawn samples of the polluted water from the river stream but it would take the lab around three to four days to assess the actual cause of fish death.
Earlier in the day, a two-member team of the Central Pollution Control Board, comprising P Jagan and Praveen Jain, took samples of the Chambal water. Jagan said the cause of the fish death could only be ascertained after the lab analysis had been done. However, he said, prima facie stagnant sewage appeared to have caused dangerously low levels of oxygen in the water. The administration should first remove the sewerage and then release fresh water from the Kota barrage dam into it to make it fit for the aquatic life.