Saswat Singhdeo

Paradip: Scattered carcasses of endangered Olive Ridley turtles on Paradip sea beach have fuelled major concern among environmentalists and local authorities.

Such mass deaths have triggered outrage in several quarters and it is being alleged that no steps have been taken to conserve the rare species while guidelines are not even followed while burying their carcasses.

"Lakhs of turtles come to the beach every year to lay eggs and hundreds of them are found dead, but the government is not taking any steps to resolve the issue," Environmentalist Amaresh Mandal said.

As per rules, the bodies of the turtles are supposed to be numbered and buried under the sand at a specific depth and as per allegations, such guidelines are not being followed.

"Turtles might be dying after being strangled in fishing nets. Our work is only to number them," a Forest official said.

Deputy range officer of Kujang, Manas Das said, "Post mortem is being done, however the carcasses are not being buried deep."

Time and again, allegations of Olive Ridley turtles being hit by trawlers and getting strangulated in fishing nets have surfaced. Fishermen have been held responsible for the turtle deaths but some boat owners have accused the Forest department of showing alackadaisical attitude towards the issue.

"Some turtles could have died because of age factor. Also, many of them die while travelling from Pacific Ocean to Bay of Bengal. But the government has not ascertained the real cause of the death," a fishing boat owner, Srikant Parida said.