Itanagar: Days after the Kameng river has turned muddy and its fishes were found floating dead, the Arunachal Pradesh Government on Monday sought the assistance of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Shillong-based North East Space Application Centre (NESAC) and Central Water Commission (CWC) in locating the cause and source of turbidity.
The news of the ‘unnatural’ episode i.e. dead fishes found floating in the Kameng river in East Kameng district and the colour of the river water turning turbid was reported on October 29 (Friday), triggering the panic button across the region.
“Although every effort has been made to find out the exact origin and cause of the disturbance in Kameng river, no definite images and information could be gathered by the satellites due to heavy
cloud coverage in the area,” a senior state government official said.
“The State Remote Sensing Application Centre (SRSAC), Itanagar and NESAC, Shillong have informed that they are in the process of getting clear and more definite images of the area as presently it is under heavy cloud coverage,” State’s Disaster Management Secretary Dani Salu said while informing that “The ISRO has also been approached to find out the actual cause and place of origin”.
He also said that some independent researchers have approa
hed the district administration to provide their technical inputs in understanding the root cause of the problem.
According to one Chintan Seth, based on the satellite imagery, debris flow is visible along the Warriyang Bung river, a tributary of the Kameng upstream Marjingla under Khenewa circle of East Kameng district. The flood eroded valley is visible.
In the upstream of the Warriyang Bung river, there are many glaciers, and it has been observed that the glaciers have moved. However, it remains to be seen whether these glacier movements are normal or abnormal.
Currently, the water level has neither increased nor decreased. Even after 72 hours, the mudflow or debris flow has not abated, the Disaster Management Secretary informed.
Earlier, upon reportage of the happening, water samples were immediately collected, and preliminary analysis was done by District Fisheries Development Officer (DFDO) Hali Tajo, as per which the Total Dissolved Substance (TDSW) levels were found to be high (6800 mg/L) while Dissolved Oxygen (DO) levels very low (2mg/L) prima facie indicating heavy turbidity/mudflow in the river.
To find out the source and cause of turbidity, a physical inspection of the river was also conducted by the district officials at various points along the Seppa-Chayangtajo road. It was found that water in all tributaries like Para, Pakke, Pachuk, Pachi and Pacha was clear. In Marjingla, thick deposits of clay and tree debris were found on the banks of the Kameng river.
“Based on the preliminary analysis and the physical inspection, prima facie it appeared to be a case of mudflow resulting from a landslide in the upper reaches of the Kameng river.”
Accordingly, the East Kameng Deputy Commissioner directed ADC Chayangtajo and ADC Bameng to deploy staff and find out if there were any landslides in Sawa and Khenewa circles, which lie in the upper catchment areas of the Kameng river. The DC also reported the matter to the Chief Secretary on Saturday and requested technical assistance from the SRSAC, Itanagar.
As a precautionary measure, the district administration has issued an ‘order’ u/s 144 CrPC prohibiting people from venturing into the river and fishing, selling or consumption of the river fish for two weeks.
Samples of fish were collected and sent for food safety testing, Salu informed, adding that no cases of diarrhoea or food poisoning have been reported yet. He however said, the Health officials have been alerted to remain vigilant.
Moreover, the state government has alerted the NDRF and SDRF in case of any emergency. The government is closely monitoring the situation and is in constant touch with ARSAC, NESAC, ISRO
and the CWC.