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Subadh Kumar Nayak

Kendrapara: Rampant and illegal use of chemicals to catch fish is allegedly taking a toll on the aquatic ecosystem of three major rivers flowing through Kendrapara district besides endangering the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen depending on the rivers.

Around 600 fishermen of Aul Tehsil, who depend on the Kharasrota river, Brahmani river and Kani rivers for their livelihood, have alleged that they are facing problems as some unidentified miscreants are illegally fishing in the river by using chemicals.

The fishermen have alleged that they have been witnessing instances of scores of dead fish floating in the water of the rivers. The locals further claimed that the use of chemicals, apart from poisoning the aquatic species is also posing threat to the sizable population of crocodiles

The situation has also become a reason of headache for the riverside people who are dependant on the rivers for their various domestic needs. Locals have often complained of suffering from different kinds of skin diseases due to chemical effluents in the water.

"Fishing is the only means to earn our livelihood. However, now we are facing a harrowing time as some miscreants are using chemicals to fish during night. The local administration has turned a mute spectator despite repeated complaints over the matter," alleged Bhagirathi Sethi, a fishermen.

Asked about the allegations, Aul Tehsildar, Jayant Prusty, assured to take action in this regard by proper coordination with the local police.

"We will file a police complaint in this regard and request the cops to conduct patrolling at night to identify the miscreants. Stringent action will be ensured if anyone found poisoning the river water," he said.

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