VMC to rehabilitate Vishwamitri crocodiles in Ajwa Sarovar

With the commencement of the Vishwamitri dredging project, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has issued a notification for the rehabilitation of 50 crocodiles of the river in Ajwa Sarovar.

The announcement comes after the civic body had issued a stern notification to forest officials and NGOs against releasing stray crocodiles into Ajwa Sarovar just a month ago.

Though VMC plans to start the rehabilitation of the reptiles from November 13 along with crocodile rescue organisations, certain NGOs have voiced against the two-faced decision of the corporation.

"This was the first question that I raised during the meeting. One day they say that the Ajwa has surpassed the capacity to hold more crocodiles and the next day there is suddenly space for 50 of these reptiles. The decision is obviously crafted to suit their (VMC's) purpose, because the rescued crocodiles are those that stray away from the Vishwamitri belt itself and many of these reptiles enter the Vishwamitri from the Sarovar. So where is the question of rehabilitating additional reptiles in the Sarovar," said Ashok Pawar, president of city-based crocodile rescue team, Late Rohan Crocodile Charitable Trust, which will be a part of the VMC''s crocodile rehabilitation drive.

After notifying the ban on September 20, forest officials and NGOs were left with the option to rehabilitate the rescued crocodiles at Dev dam, Sukhi dam or at Karjan.

There are over 100 crocodiles in the Vishwamitri belt. While the VMC estimates that the dredging of the river will take over two years time, 50 crocodiles will be rehabilitated to Ajwa Sarovar and the remaining crocodiles will be enclosed at various points of the belt as the work progresses.

"The decision was made after taking in the opinions of the NGOs for maintaining the security of the crocodiles. As we start, over five to six crocodiles will be rehabilitated by the NGOs everyday," said city mayor Balkrishna Shukla.

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