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Biodiversity & Environment

Rescuing Gharials: Mahanadi River

  • 11 Jun 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, Odisha announced a cash award of Rs. 1,000 to conserve gharials in Mahanadi River Basin.

Key Points

  • About Gharials:
    • Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts. Crocodilians are a group of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and more.
    • India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
    • Habitat of Gharials:
      • Natural Habitat: Fresh waters of the northern part of India.
      • Primary Habitat: Chambal river (a tributary of Yamuna).
      • Secondary Habitat: Ghagra, Gandak river, Girwa river (Uttar Pradesh), the Ramganga river (Uttarakhand) and the Sone river (Bihar).
    • Significance: Population of Gharials are a good indicator of clean river water.
    • Conservation Efforts:
      • Breeding Centres of Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, National Chambal Sanctuary (Gharial Eco Park, Madhya Pradesh).
    • Threats:
      • Increased river pollution, dam construction, massive-scale fishing operations and floods.
      • Illegal sand mining and poaching.
  • Mahanadi River:
    • About:
      • The Mahanadi River system is the third largest of peninsular India after Godavari and Krishna, and the largest river of Odisha state.
      • The catchment area of the river extends to Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
      • Its basin is bounded by the Central India hills on the north, by the Eastern Ghats on the south and east and by the Maikala range on the west.
    • Source:
      • It rises from a place near Sihawa in Bastar hills in the state of Chhattisgarh to the south of Amarkantak.
    • Major Tributaries: Seonath River, Hasdeo river, Mand river, Ib river, Jonking river, Tel river
    • Mahanadi River Dispute: The Central Government constituted Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal in 2018.
    • Major Dams/Projects on Mahanadi:
      • Hirakud Dam: This is the longest dam of India.
      • Ravishankar Sagar, Dudhawa Reservoir, Sondur Reservoir, Hasdeo Bango and Tandula are other major projects.

Source: DTE

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