Saturday, June 15, 2024

Lukha river turns blue again, kills fishes


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From Our Correspondent

 JOWAI: The famous Lukha river in Jaintia Hills has turned blue again on Friday and thousands of dead fishes were found floating on the water surface all along the river right from Sakhri till Borsora village, a distance of about 25 km.

The changing of colour and death of fishes in the Lukha River has become an annual phenomenon. The Lukha River changed its colour for the first time in January 2007, since then the discolouration of the river occurred annually during the month of November, and February.

This year, the river has turned blue again since Friday night. Villagers of Sunapyrdi (Sunapur) witnessed the discoloring of Lukha River on Saturday Morning.

“We saw the river turning blue in colour and thousands dead fishes were floating on the water surface”, said a resident of Sunapyrdi.

The river changed its colour from the confluence of Lunar River and Lukha River”,Sunapyrdi headman, JS Lamare said.

Since Saturday morning people from various villages have come to the river to collect dead fishes”, informed KSU Secretary Narpuh Circle, Kwilness Suchiang who is also a resident of Sunapyrdi (Sunapur) village.

Members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU) operating in Narpuh Elaka have also visited the river and witnessed this annual development in the Lukha River.

The JSU General Secretary, Narpuh Circle, Hamjhan Siangshai alone has collected about 3 kg of dead fishes from the river during his short visit to the river side.

“We had inspected the river for half an hour and collected not less than 3 kg of fishes killed in the river”, Siangshai said adding that not less than 30 to 40 people have collecting dead fishes from the river from Saturday until Monday.

People residing along the river bank including Sakhri village, Umtalen village, Sunapyrdi (Sunapur), Borsora, Chymphlong and other villagers from Lumshnong and its surroundings have come to collect the dead fish”, said Sunapyrdi Rangbah shnong” sources informed

However, people are also afraid to eat the dead fish collected from the river because it might harm their health.

The Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) which controls all the rivers and waterways of Jaintia hills have auctioned the Lukha river to an individual on a yearly basis. “When such unnatural phenomenon occurs killing shoals of fish, people are confused and the phenomenon has also caused great loss to the individual who leases the river periodically.

Concerned over the contamination of the Lukha river, the Sunapur and Lumshnong unit of the KSU and JSU Narpuh Circle urged the concerned authorities to conduct proper investigation to find out the reasons why the river turns blue every year since 2007.

It may be mentioned here, that the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) which has investigated the matter after the 2007 incident had come out with a final report that the discoloration was due to the illegal rat-hole system of coal mining.

The local people and NGOs however are skeptical about the MSPCB report.

Local people of Narpuh Elaka particularly those residing along the river-bank have blamed the effluents from cement factories for the discoloration of the Lukha river.

“Lunar river which was affected by coal mining has turned reddish in colour whereas the Lukha has acquired a dusty blue colour. If it is due to coal mining, the Lunar river also should be blue in colour”, said K. Mukhim a resident of Lumshnong adding,

That the river started changing its colour only from the confluence point towards Bangladesh. Had it been due to coal mining activities, the river would have been affected from a long time, but the river became polluted only in 2007 after cement factories began operating in full swing.


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