Fish kill in Jakkur lake

Fish kill in Jakkur lake

Fish kill in Jakkur lake

  More than a lakh dead fish have surfaced in the Jakkur lake in the City over the past two days, thanks to cleaning operation launched by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). The numbers in the ‘fish kill’ incident are on the rise as the trail of death continued on Thursday also.

The BDA has took up de-watering of the lake under Lake Rejuvenation Programme which is said to have resulted in death of the fish. The putrid stench of dead fish has engulfed the vicinity of the lake and beyond. The Fisheries department has estimated that 80 per cent of the fish in the lake has died as the oxygen levels in the water body dipped.

“Two days ago, we found the BDA breaking the bund of the lake and draining water without prior intimation. This has resulted in the deaths of fish which were bred by the Backward Classes and Minorities Breeding and Marketing Society for the last couple of years,” the department officials said.

Advance warning

However, the BDA maintained that it had given advance warning to the Fisheries department to catch and breed the fish before the work began. “On February 28, we sent a letter to the Fisheries department on the need to stop breeding of fish in Jakkur lake as the developmental works were to begin ‘shortly’ under the chief minister’s direction,” said Deputy Conservator of Forests, BDA, M V Amarnath.
According to the officials, the onus was on the Fisheries Department to relocate the fish for the time being. However, the Department has its own version. “We were only given a statement saying the lake rejuvenation works were to begin shortly. How are we to ascertain when will they begin the work,?” the officials claimed.

The lake was leased out to the Backward Class and Minorities Fisheries Breeding and Marketing Society for a period of five years. As many as 150 families are dependent on the fisheries society for their daily bread.

Huge amount of humus

According to Amarnath, the fish died because of the huge amount of humus at the bottom of the lake. This released the toxic waste as the water was drained, leading to depletion of the oxygen content.
“We cannot direct the Fisheries department what to do and what not to do,” said Amarnath.

 Due to the heavy toll of dead fish, the Fisheries department and locals are not ruling out the possibility of health hazards in the area. “We will have to bury the dead fish in pits with the help of the local civic agencies,” said an official who was on the spot.       

It is learnt that the Fisheries department will be providing some sort of compensation to the society for loss of their livelihood. Meanwhile, a petition filed in the High Court by the fisheries society was dismissed and a settlement is being discussed by the BDA officials to allow the society to operate in the lake for a period of one year after the rejuvenation programme is completed.