Putting the seaplane project near Statue of Unity on fast track, the Gujarat government has planned to install a “trash rack”, a mesh-like structure that will prevent crocodiles in Narmada reservoir from populating the Magar Talav or crocodile pond adjacent to the dam.
The trash rack is nothing but a mesh grill that will be installed in a 300-m-long channel that connects Pond Two with Pond Three, which has been found suitable for the seaplane project. This will prevent new crocodiles from entering this pond and keep it crocodile-free in future,” a senior state government official has told The Indian Express.
There are four ponds between Narmada dam and the main canal head regulator. These four ponds are linked through a canal system to the dam. The biggest of them is Pond number Three.
It is estimated that there are over 500 crocodiles in Pond Three where the project is being built and the forest department is in the process of relocating these reptiles.
“The trash rack will be about 50-60-m-wide and is expected to be around 200-300-m-long. It is expected to keep a check on the future population of crocodiles, which travels from the Narmada dam’s main reservoir to the Pond Three through interconnected channels,” the official remarked, adding that the trash-rack project will speed up the setting up of the seaplane terminal, which is expected to attract more tourists to the Statue of Unity site.
The Gujarat government is being cautious while dealing with the crocodile population that resides in and around the Narmada dam.
“The local sensibilities are also being taken into account as Narmada is considered as a Goddess and the crocodile is her “vahaan” or vehicle,” the official added, without revealing how many crocodiles have been relocated from the Magar talav.
“The openings of the mesh of the trash rack will be 10 by 10 cm, which will allow only small fish to pass through,” the official said, however, adding that the trash rack would be unable to prevent hatchlings of crocodiles from passing through.
The tender for the project had to be re-invited after the cost of using a 300 metric tonne crane for installation of the trash rack inside the channel was included.