NEW DELHI: Days after a large number of fishes were found dead in the upstream stretch of the Najafgarh drain, the Delhi Wetland Authority has set up an 11-member enquiry committee to inspect the drain water and probe the reasons behind the incident.
“It has been reported that there is mass mortality of fishes in the Najafgarh drain. An enquiry committee is hereby constituted to inspect the drain and submit a report on the reasons behind the episode to Delhi Wetland Authority for further action,” read the order.
The authority has also asked the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) to facilitate site visits for the team. The Najafgarh drain located on Delhi-Haryana border falls under the jurisdiction of the irrigation department.
According to a senior official, while the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the I&FC collected water samples from the drain, the analysis of the test reports will be part of the final report to be submitted by the committee.
“The water samples lifted from the drain need more analysis to ascertain the exact cause of the death of the fishes. The committee has been set up to carry out a detailed investigation in the matter,” the
Initially, the DPCC and irrigation department officials said that the primary cause behind the deaths could be the zero levels of Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in the drain, but what exactly caused it is still a matter of investigation. The fisheries unit has also collected some fish samples for autopsy. The dead fishes were removed from the water, as the foul smell was tampering the surroundings.
The members of the committee include experts from various stakeholder departments such as forest, I&FC, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), DJB, fisheries unit of Delhi Animal Husbandry department, Prof V K Minocha from Delhi Technological University, Manu Bhatnagar, principal director at Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) and Ritesh Kumar, director of Wetlands International South Asia, among others.
“We visited the site a few days back and it needs to be probed if the fish died due to lack of oxygen or due to poisoning. The water sample test results will be available next week after which the committee will be able to draw a conclusion,” said Bhatnagar, who has been working to restore the Najafgarh drain for years.
Last Saturday, clusters of dead fishes were spotted floating on both sides of the Najafgarh drain, which has a rich aquatic life.
According to forest officials, the number of fishes was anywhere between thousands and lakhs in a stretch of about 10 kms downstream of Dhansa border in Haryana.