Mahi in trouble

The Mahi river flowing into the Gulf of Khambhat is on the verge of extinction due to pollution and salinity. Fisherfolk and non-governmental organisations (ngos) of Vadodara, Gujarat, blame the construction of bunds on the Mahi by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation for the situation. "The bunds constructed to collect water have stopped the surface movement of the river,' say the ngo s. Consequently, the river is facing an intrusion of saline water from sea as there is no surface flow to push the seawater back during a low tide. "The groundwater in many areas might become saline due to this,' fears Darayas Medhora, president of the Gujarat Pariyavaran Rakha Samiti, a Vadodara-based ngo . Effluents from industries are also adding to the woes of the river. The effluents are accumulating downstream leading to the poisoning of the river. "During the past six months, about 600-800 tortoises have died because of the pollution and salinity,' claims Y M Naik from the department of zoology of the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara.