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Hilsa, ‘Queen of fishes’, to be found in Ganga river near Prayagraj after 32 years – thanks to this project!

Debjit Sinha
hilsa

Hilsa, the ‘Queen of fishes’, will now be found in Allahabad (now Prayagraj) after 32 years! Yes, the fish will be able to make a journey from Farakka to Prayagraj in the Ganga riverbed with Union River Development, Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari recently unveiled a new navigation lock at Farakka to enable breeding of Hilsa fish. The second phase of the river information system (RIS) on National Waterway-1 between Farakka and Patna and the Navigation Lock at Farakka would boost the movement of cargo and enable breeding of Hilsa fish in Ganga. These projects would also help preserve the ecosystem of the river.

The hilsa fish passage will be enabled through Farakka Navigation Lock which is synchronized in a manner to meet the requirements of Hilsa fish movement. The fish passage was envisaged for the unrestricted movement of Hilsa at Farakka Navigation Lock under Jal Marg Vikas Pariyojana. The project also envisages the construction of a new state of the art navigational Lock on National Waterway-1 (NW-1) at Farakka. The total cost of construction Rs 361.35 crore. The works are scheduled to be complete by June 2019. The operation of the navigational lock will be regulated based on the breeding season of hilsa fish. The movement of hilsa fish from Hoogly-Bhagirathi-River system to Ganga river upstream and vice-versa will be facilitated.

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Earlier Hilsa fish used to reach up to the then Allahabad (now Prayagraj). However, the movement of Hilsa stopped after the Farakka Navigation Lock came up in 1976. Fish pass or Fishway is a structure or natural barriers like dams, locks, and waterfalls to ensure the natural migration of fish. Most fishways enable fish to pass around the barriers by swimming into the waters on the other side.

Apart from the movement of Hilsa, the second phase of RIS would help in the swift transfer of electronic data between mobile vessels and base stations on shore. The new-age technology helps in tackling the crisis and preventing ship-bridge collisions, ship-to-ship collisions, groundings etc. Currently, the US, China and the countries in Europe use this technology.