Mahseer Trust supporters taking lead in restoring ‘biologically dead’ river
One of the most historic mahseer rivers, Mula-Mutha, the type locality of Tor khudree was recently declared biologically dead (click here for news story in Hindustan Times). Luckily, steps were already being taken towards rehabilitating the hilly rivers surrounding the city of Pune, with supporters of Mahseer Trust taking the lead.
As part of a national river gazette process, Rakesh Patil, guided by MT Education and Outreach Officer Steve Lockett, are compiling historic data to show how, why and when the rivers here went into decline.
Local groups are also having some success, including Jeevitnadi (www.jeevitnadi.org), whose members conduct clean-ups, river walks and regular educational visits to schools to encourage better use of the river habitat.
Similarly, it was reported that the State Pollution Control Board has been directed to stop industrial pollution (click here for news story in The Times of India), although more pressure would be needed locally to ensure this happens, and funding is being made available through a number of sources to aid clean-up and sewage treatment.
Once the river is sufficiently cleaned, it is hoped mahseer and other aquatic life could be reintroduced to sites within easy reach of the Tata Power hatchery at Lonavla.
Trust supporter Henry Gonsalves, who grew up in Pune, said “I spent many happy hours fishing in the rivers around Pune. Local workers used to pick freshwater clams from the river to eat and blackbuck could be seen close to the river at Khamgaon.” That was in 1959, let’s hope that we can see a recovery of this noted mahseer habitat in a very short space of time.
Anybody who remembers the rivers around Pune between Independence and the present day can share memories, photographs or written data with Steve. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and play your part in the river gazette.
If you have experience of fishing for and catching mahseer on the rivers Mula, Mutha or Pavana, then please click this link to fill in the data questionnaire