The Jharkhand government has proposed two sites for ‘dolphin safaris’ on the river Ganga in the Sahibganj district to promote the conservation of the country’s national aquatic life. An official of the Forest Department informed this on Sunday. He said parts of the palace are likely to be declared “dolphin tourist spots”.
Sahibganj Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Manish Tewari said, “The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recently sought a proposal from the state government for an eco-tourism project for two places Sahibganj and Rajmahal.” The Forest Department submitted its proposal to the Center last month.
“As per the demand of the Centre, we have identified two sites for the project at Singhidlan in Rajmahal and Ojhatoli in Sahibganj. The distance between the two sites is about 40 kilometres. We submitted our plan by the end of April. Now we are waiting for its approval.”
The presence of dolphins and the economic and tourism potential was considered while selecting the sites, the official said. “The proposed sites will help in better monitoring of these species and promote local employment through tourism,” he said.
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) launched the Safari Project in October 2020 at six locations in the country – Bijnor, Brijghat, Prayagraj and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Kahalgaon in Bihar and Bandel in West Bengal. The dolphin, protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, is found in the 83 km stretch of river Ganga in the Sahibganj district of Jharkhand.
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) surveyed in January this year in part of the Ganges in Jharkhand and found 81 dolphins. Tiwari said, “We believe that the number of dolphins will be more as the river in Sahibganj is very wide. According to our estimates, the number of dolphins will be between 130 and 135.
Former member of the State Wildlife Board D.S. Srivastava told PTI-language that due to a lack of surveillance and patrolling, the conservation of dolphins has been a big issue. “The forest department had seized two dolphins from a hunter’s house in Sahibganj last year,” he said.