Mass Sea Fish Death Panics Fishermen
PARADIP: Large scale death of marine species including fish and crabs for the last couple of days on Santra Creek here has spread panic among local fishermen. Scientists of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) have rushed to the spot to collect water samples to ascertain the cause of the mass death of marine species.
The fishermen alleged that discharge of chemical effluents from the proposed Paradip refinery project of IOCL is the main cause of the fish death.
Though the refinery project is yet to be commissioned, IOCL authorities have pressed several contractual agencies for the project’s construction work. The agencies have been discharging chemical effluents into Santra creek and Kadua river leading to the mass death, alleged the fishermen.
Farmers in Paradip area also complained that prawn and other marine species have perished in nearly 11 gheris causing loss to the tune of `4 crore. Prawn farmer Susant Pradhan said marine fishes in a three-acre gheri have died due to release of chemical effluents from the refinery project. The loss is estimated to be around `35 lakh, he added.
Fishermen Madhu Parida, Lalu Patra, Gobind Samal and others said they had cultivated prawn and marine fish by availing loans from private financiers. After the death of the marine species, it is an uphill task to repay the loans, they rued.
On the other hand, a senior officer of the IOCL refuted the allegation of the death of marine fish due to discharge of chemical waste from the refinery project. The project has not yet been commissioned and so there is no question of chemical waste being discharged into Santra creek. Moreover, IOCL collected water samples for testing and found the allegation baseless from the report, he added.
Senior scientist of SPCB Prasant Kar, who visited the spot, said, “Our team has collected water samples which would be tested at the central laboratory in Bhubaneswar. The cause of the death of marine fishes is yet to be ascertained as we are awaiting the laboratory report. Fishes and crabs in around 10 prawn gheris on Santra creek have perished,” he added.