New Delhi: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has undertaken a special study on the effect of navigational activities on the Gangetic Dolphin and other aquatic animals, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
"To address the concerns raised on the impact of barge movement during the operational phase of the project, IWAI has undertaken a special study in association with IIT, Delhi on the effect of navigational activities on the Gangetic Dolphin and other aquatic animals in order to take remedial measures," Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
The Terms of Reference (ToR) for this study were finalised after detailed consultations with experts on the subject, he said.
To augment the navigation capacity on the Haldia-Varanasi stretch of National Waterway-1, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is implementing the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP), with the technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank.
The Sultanganj-Kahalgaon stretch of NW-1 passes through Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS), Bhagalpur.
In order to ensure safe navigational activities, and as part of the Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy of the World Bank, IWAI undertook a comprehensive Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study on NW-1 including on stretches falling within VGDS.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports include the impact assessment with reference to the Gangetic Dolphins and Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, Bhagalpur.
The report recommended a number of mitigation/ safeguard measures for safe navigational activities in NW-1 including dolphins and other aquatic animals protected areas.
"Further, similar measures as adopted in Kashi Turtle Sanctuary, Varanasi have been adopted in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, Bhagalpur to ensure the safety of aquatic life," he added.