Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said he wants to distribute ducks among villagers in the state because he believes they will boost the rural economy. But the chief minister also claims ducks provide additional benefits: he says they recycle water, and their swimming increases oxygen levels in water bodies.
Deb was addressing an inaugural event of a traditional boat race at Rudrasagar, an artificial lake around water palace Neermahal, when he made the statement. The chief minister told the audience that he planned to distribute 50,000 ducklings to fishermen who lived near the lake. The chief minister said that white ducklings would also be distributed to villagers across Tripura, especially at tourist destinations near waterbodies, to enhance natural beauty and boost the rural economy. Then, Deb explained why it was beneficial to have ducks.
“When ducks swim in water, oxygen level automatically increases in the waterbody. It (oxygen) gets recycled. Fish in the water will get more oxygen. They also benefit from the bird droppings. Thus, pisciculture will benefit and fishes will grow faster, that too in a completely organic way,” Deb said.
Mihir Lal Roy of the Tripura Vigyan Mancha, said the chief minister’s comments on oxygen levels rising due to ducks swimming was “loose talk” and didn’t have any scientific basis. The Tripura Vigyan Mancha is an organisation that works for the propagation of scientific thought, and has been operational in the state since 2010.
Roy said integrated animal rearing is good and helps boost production. However, Deb’s theories on oxygen levels in water bodies was baseless, he said.
“I am not sure why he has made these comments. We expect sound knowledge from a chief minister. It is true that waterbodies get aerated if there is movement in the water. But there is no scientific evidence that swimming ducks can do the job”, Roy said.
Dr. Sukanta Banik, who is a professor of zoology at Tripura University, also said the presence of ducks in water can help create waves which will help add some atmospheric oxygen into waterbodies. However, the effect would be way less than an artificial aerator, he said.
Tripura Pradesh Congress Tapas Dey criticised the chief minister’s comments and said a serious policy suggestion, which involves livelihood of thousands of people, should be made on the basis of sound and proper scientific evidence.
CPM state secretary Bijan Dhar declined to comment on the issue. “I am not aware how few ducks will release oxygen in a large lake like Rudrasagar. I shall not comment on it,” he said.
Deb also claimed previous CPM government damaged village culture
In his speech, the Tripura chief minister said he wants every family to rear four to five ducks. Rearing ducks will help meet all the protein and vitamin requirements of children in the family, he said.
Deb claimed the rearing of ducks and poultry was a part of the old village culture, which was damaged during the 25 years of CPM-led Left Front rule. He defended his comments saying the CPM leaders would forced people to attend their rallies, which were held frequently.
The CM also told landless villagers not to worry about not having land for duck rearing.
“You don’t need to have land for rearing ducks. The government will distribute white ducklings to you. Rear them in Rudrasagar. It will be a great attraction to see thousands of white ducks swimming in the lake”, he said.
Earlier this year, Deb made a series of gaffes. The Tripura chief minister claimed that ancient Indians had access to the internet and artificial satellites in the age of the Mahabharata. He claimed Gautam Buddha walked over the sea to Japan and former Miss World Diana Hayden was unworthy of being a beauty pageant winner.
The copy was updated to include the quote by Dr Sukanta Banik. Mihir Lal Roy is from the Tripura Vigyan Mancha and the name of the organisation was corrected. The error is regretted.
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