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Pollution endangers historic Jor Pukhuri
 GUWAHATI, June 16 - The eastern part of the historic Jor Pukhuri, located at Uzanabar locality, near the Ugratara Temple of the city, has been facing severe pollution due to the alleged negligence of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC).

 According to the members of the Ugratara Temple Management Committee, the Jor Pukhuri was constructed during the Ahom reign as a pond. Later, the erstwhile British rulers divided the pond into two parts by constructing the road.

After Independence and formation of the GMC in 1971, the authority of the western part of the pond went to the temple management committee and the authority of the eastern part went to the GMC.

“For the past six years, the condition of the eastern part of the Jor Pukhuri has been deteriorating constantly. Even the pollution caused by the pond’s water poses a threat to the nearby people,” said Kailash Sarma, a member of the temple management committee.

During the ground study carried out by this correspondent, it was found that one of its banks has become a dumping ground as the GMC has placed a dustbin on the roadside. The boundary wall of the pond is also in a dilapidated condition and the whole pond is covered by aquatic flora.

The local people of the area said that due to water hyacinth and other flora, the pond has become inappropriate for fish and other aquatic species. “The GMC used carry out disiltation on the banks of the pond. But the work was not done in a systematic way. Such works are nothing but a waste of public money,” Sarma added.

Meanwhile, in the western part of Jor Pukhuri, the guard wall constructed by the GMC has also become a threat to the turtles and their reproduction.

“The guard wall has become a hurdle for turtles during the reproduction period. We have already urged the GMC to demolish it,” members of the temple management committee said here today while addressing a press conference.

Meanwhile, Help-Earth, an NGO working in the field of wildlife conversation, recently artificially incubated 34 black softshell turtles from the eggs collected from the Jor Pukhuri.

“We have collected altogether 72 eggs of this species of turtle and carried out the artificial incubation at the Assam State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden. We will release those turtles in protected aquatic land of the State soon,” Dr Jayaditya Purkayashtha, general secretary of Help Earth, told The Assam Tribune.

According to him, the Jor Pukhuri houses 12 different turtle species namely, Malayan Box, Spotted Pond, Indian Roofed, Assam Roofed, Indian Tant, Brown Roofed, Indian Flapshell, Narrow Headed Softshell, Indian Softshell, Peacock Softshell, Black Softshell and Assam Leaf turtles.

He further informed that the Jor Pukhuri has the third largest population of turtles in Assam.

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