February 14, 2009 1:51:29 am
A day after carcasses of endangered dolphins and green sea turtles were found in the Jamnagar Marine National Park,a team of the Forest department from Gandhinagar began an
extensive survey along with local officials,on Friday.
The marine animals died allegedly following blasts carried out by a shipping agency to excavate vessels that had drowned nearly four decades ago.
While the possibility of presence of hazardous materials and oil on the sunken ships cannot be ruled out,the damage can be more than what is apparent as of now. The matter came to light when Anwar Khan,a resident of Ajar island,released press notes to vernaculars in this regard. According to Khan,he had written to the maritime board earlier,but in vain.
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The carcass of a dolphin and six turtles have been found so far. The death toll of aquatic animals is likely to go up in a group of islands located in the Gulf of Kutch. The rubble extract activity was carried out some five nautical miles from the Okha port by Devji Lalji,a Porbandar-based company. A case has been filed against the contractor under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Top forest officials,however,said that the role of port officials is yet to be examined. Our top most priority is to assess the damage. A report from Okha Maritime Board office has been sought in this regard, said a forest official.
B Sata,Jamnagar forest officer,said,All the islands,42 in total,are located at quite a distance from each other.
Forest officials did not deny the possibility of the carcasses reaching the shores of other islands. Out of the 42 islands,only two are inhabited and sea route is the only option to reach there.
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