Kolkata: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) has made a special arrangement to regulate the operation of the navigational lock at Farakka to allow the passage of Hilsa fish movement. After the construction of Farakka Navigation Lock in 1976, movement of Hilsa, which once reached up to Prayagraj, was restricted up to Farakka only.”Under the JMVP, a fish pass has been envisaged for its free movement at Farakka navigation lock. Hilsa has a significant cultural importance in Bengal, besides being the national fish of Bangladesh. This has been done in consultation with ICAR- Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Central Water Commission and Farraka Barrage Project Authority,” a senior official of IWAI said. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe official said based on research and breeding season of Hilsa, the operation of navigational lock will be regulated to facilitate the movement of fish from Hoogly-Bhagirathi river system to the upstream in river Ganga and vice-versa.The time of opening the gates at the lock will be based on the nature and time of movement of Hilsa, period of migration and breeding of species. It may be mentioned that fish pass or fish way is a structure on or around artificial and natural barriers (such as dams, locks and waterfalls) to facilitate natural fish migration. Most fish ways enable fish to pass around the barriers by swimming into the waters on the other side. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”The Hilsa migration will lead to increase in its production in the region. Simultaneously, this will increase the river biodiversity and aid in the economy of local fishermen,” a senior official of the state Fisheries department said. The new arrangement of navigation lock at Farakka, which will enable breeding of Hilsa fish in river Ganga and help preserve the river ecosystem was unveiled by Union minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Water resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari at a programme at Prayagraj on Friday. The minister also inaugurated the second phase of River Information System (RIS) on National Waterway-1 (410km on Farakka-Patna stretch), that will enhance swift electronic data transfer between mobile vessels and shore (base stations) through advance and real-time exchange of information. Under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, a new state-of-the-art navigational lock on National Waterways -1 is being constructed at Farakka at a cost of Rs 361.35 crore and the work is expected to be complete by June 2019. IWAI is implementing the JMVP for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 on the Haldia – Varanasi stretch of Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System with the technical and financial support of the World Bank at a cost of Rs 5369 crore.
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