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In absence of coal mining, fish population increase in Simsang river

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Tura, Oct 16: In absence of coal mining in South Garo Hills, there seems to be growth in the fish population in the Simsang river – the longest in Garo Hills.

Locals say that fish population has increased because there is no mining underway.

“Fish population along the Simsang route was on decline, however, with halt in mining activities, the population has increased,” said a local resident of Nongalbibra.  Fish population along Simsang was on decline as water had turned acidic due to coal mining. 

“This is nature healing itself after the ban on coal mining. There are plenty of fish in the river now in places where they had disappeared. This is at least a positive for the people of the areas earlier affected,” said one Handrick Marak, who posted photos of a bounty caught by a fisherman.

Fishes from the Simsang have long had a very high market value due to its local nature as well as the profound taste that dishes with the local variety make. Good local variety in some sections cost over Rs 1000 per kg and provide a very good livelihood option to local fishermen.

Another local resident, Dr Saljagringgrang Marak, a veterinarian, felt the return of the fishes was a good sign for the local populace.

“It’s a good sign and we hope there are more of the local species that fill the river. It will provide another avenue for revenue for those living by the side of the River Simsang,” said Dr Marak.

In the absence of coal, the district of South Garo Hills, where a major part of the mining economy is based, has struggled with livelihood options. Many had even had to resort to distress selling of their goods in an effort to get by. While the bounty of fish may not be able to solve the problems with the economy, it at least provides an alternative.  

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