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HC directs state govt to take steps to save endangered ‘Mahaseer’ fish

‘Prohibits commercial activities in Badi Lake in Udaipur’

Udaipur : A double bench of the High Court at its principle seat at Jodhpur has issued directions to the state government to take necessary steps to conserve the endangered ‘Mahaseer’ fish in Udaipur Lakes and all other places in Rajasthan where it is available. The court also issued instructions to Udaipur collector to ensure that no activity that may cause harm to the existence of the endangered fish, takes place in Lake Badi which is one of the finest fresh water lakes in the country. Presently, in Udaipur, the Mahaseer fish is found only in this lake. Presence of Mahseer in water is a mark of healthy aquatic life.

The order was passed on Tuesday, by Justice  Vinit Mathur and Justice Govind Mathur, upon a writ petition by Amicus Curie Sanjeet Purohit and Vinit Sanadhya who put up before the court a case study of Udaipur lakes that, they held,  had been a natural habitat to Mahaseer fish years ago. However, the variety reached on the verge of extinction due to the increasing pollution in the water bodies here. The petitioners held that on one hand the forest department has developed a hatchery and artificially rearing the Mahaseer variety to conserve it, but on the other hand, the government has planned and initiated water sports at Lake Badi to promote tourism. There is an ongoing construction work for parking lot and other utilities that is feared to disturb the only habitat left of Mahseer and various other fishes. The petitioners held that the activities would deplete the water quality of the said lake which indeed will then not be a suitable for Mahseer or any other fishery to survive.

 Mahaseer-Tiger of Lakes

Mahseer is a sporty fish dwelling in running cold waters, having its beauty like a  peacock, its strength and poise of a lion and its size that of an elephant; widely known as ‘tiger of water’. It inhabit in pollution free waters. Its presence in stagnant water body indicates that the quality of the water is good and is supportive to the life in the water. About three to four decades back this fish was abundantly found in lakes of Udaipur, when the water quality of these lakes used to be good. Current scenario, the water has become polluted resulting in vanishing of Mahseer fish from the lakes. A large number of annicuts and other small water structure have been constructed in catchment area of these lakes and as such the breeding grounds of this fish have been irreversibly damaged. Hence this and any other species of fishes are unable to breed in local waters. Mahseer fish along with some other species is therefore at verge of extinction. Mahseer has not only decline in number but the size of Mahseer has also reduced. Mahseer, which use to be 15 to 20 kg and five feet long, has now reduced to around 1kg.

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