Even though close to 100 crocodiles dwell in the heart of the city,their protectors the Forest department neither know their precise count nor the harm to the reptiles caused by the dumping of industrial waste in the Vishwamitri river.
Nevertheless,Mayor Balkrishna Shukla is all set to develop a Crocodile Park by cleaning the river. The Gujarat Pollution Control Boards (GPCB) has already conveyed to the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) that not a single industry in the city has been releasing pollutants in the river,but environmental activists still find contaminated water. In the chaos,no one really knows what the fate of the crocodiles will be.
No census has ever been carried out and we don’t intend to. Crocodile census is a difficult thing to do,as there are chances that many of them might go underwater. We are also unaware if water pollution would affect the crocodiles. It is the job of the pollution control authorities to handle the issue, said G Yadaiah,Conservator of Forests (Wildlife),Vadodara Circle.
Environmental activist Rohit Prajapati,who has been fighting against the authorities for allowing the industries to pollute the river,said: It is a matter of investigation if the pollutants are causing any damage to the crocodiles. We do not have any specific data on the subject,but it is a proven fact that VMC is allowing the industries to discharge their wastes officially,the limit set by VMC is above the permissible limits set by GPCB, he added.
Animal activists who have been chasing the crocodiles and rescuing them feel that the forest officials are not supporting their work.
We just need their consent; rest of the things we are ready to manage. But we are not being allowed to do it. We have no concrete information about water pollution affecting crocodiles, said animal activist Snehal Bhavsar.
Meanwhile,a forest officer said,There is no need for a census because the crocodiles here are not in danger. Census is done only when the species are in danger: the tiger is such an example.