Thousands of fish found dead in river

The effluents discharged by the fish meal industries have killed a large number of fishes in Udyavara River in Gajani and Ankudru areas. The dead fishes were reportedly floating in a 2 kms radius area in Udyavar River on Thursday.

Udupi Tahsildar Prasanna visited the area for spot inspection as aggrieved public demanded immediate solution to the problem. He also visited areas where effluents of the fish meal industries are discharged. There are as many as three fish meal industries working in the region.

According to members of the public, all these three industries discharge the effluents directly to the river water, reportedly without any sort of desalinating procedures. All the three industries are also functioning without the license from Gram Panchayats, they alleged.

Speaking to media persons, Panchayat President Gracy Machado informed that the foul smell of the discharged effluents has contaminated the entire atmosphere in the area. People find it difficult to take food owing to the foul smell. The thick smoke from the chimneys has massively affected the health of the people. There are increasing number of cases related to skin diseases, breathing problems, stomach ache and coughing, she said.

Machado informed that Panchayat PDO Panchakshari Heeremutt has given the license without the approved decision from the Panchayat. Public have protested against the PDO, she said.

Tahsildar Prasanna informed media persons that spot inspection is done and the report will be submitted to the DC. Effluent Treatment Plant is being installed in the industries. The owners of the fish meal industries have confirmed that the effluents are decontaminated before releasing it to the sea water and nothing is released to the river water, he added.

Tahsildar was accompanied by Environment Pollution Control Board Officials and Fisheries Department Officials on the occasion. Environment Pollution Control Board Assistant Officer Rajashekar Puranik informed that the scarcity of required amount of oxygen in Pithrodi, Mattu and Ankudru areas has resulted in the deaths of the fishes.

The present availability of oxygen in the areas is somewhere around 2.5 to 3.5 DO, it should be around 3.5 DO. However, there are no possibilities of effluents discharged without undergoing desalination process. The company officials were asked to construct a channel to discharge the effluents to the sea water. Inspection will also be done regarding the desalinated effluents that are discharged to the sea water, he added.

GP member Vijay Kumar informed that the problems of fish meal industries do exist in the area since two years. The company officials tell that they don’t release the effluents to the river water. The fishes in the river are dying very often and the poisonous effluents discharged in the river seem to be the major cause. In spite of submitting several memorandums to the district administration, it has been no use. However, if the problem is not solved, public will take up rigorous protest against the district administration and the government, he added.

Hindustan Fish Meal industry owner K M Balalaraj said the company was set up in 2006 after taking necessary precautions. However, all these problems started only during 2009 and the problem is not connected to the effluents of the fish meal industries. The company is releasing the desalinated effluents to the sea water as per the instructions of the district administration.

High level inquiry is necessary to find out the causes that led to the deaths of large number of fishes. There are possibilities of the poisoning the river water as it had taken place in Kemmannu river in Karkala recently, he added.

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