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GTA to distribute angling licences for Teesta Rangit rivers

Anglers at Tribeni, the confluence of the Teesta and Rangit rivers
The GTA will distribute angling licences tomorrow to promote the pastime among local people and tourists.

Angling will be allowed at two spots - one at the confluence of the Teesta and Rangit rivers, the other on the Teesta at Reang.

Both the spots are about 18km from Darjeeling town.

The fisheries department of the GTA will organise an event tomorrow at Tribeni, where angling enthusiasts will be issued licences on the spot.

The licence will cost Rs 500 and will be valid for seven months - the angling season from September to the end of March.

"No fishing will be allowed from April to August as fish breed during the rainy season," said a senior GTA official.

The licences issued tomorrow will be valid till March-end next year but the anglers would not be allowed to fish from April to August. About 75,000 fingerlings of various breeds will be released into the Teesta tomorrow.

The GTA has also imposed a ban on the use of explosives and poison to kill fish in the rivers and streams in the hills.

"We will take strong action against those who indulge in illegal killing of fish. Only licence holders will be allowed to fish in the rivers with fishing rods. There will also be a list of dos and don'ts for anglers," said the senior GTA official.

The rules would be announced tomorrow.

Those accompanying the anglers to the riverbanks will be charged Rs 50 per hour per person.

"We will set up counters at Tribeni and Reang to enable companions of anglers to be on the riverbank. Angling licences can be acquired from our offices in Darjeeling and Kalimpong," the fisheries department official said.

"We have already released fingerlings of various breeds (of fish) at different points in the Teesta in the last one month or so. We are starting off with the Teesta because this has always been the hub of angling in the hills. We will promote angling in other rivers of the hills in due course because we have found that angling enthusiasts from different parts of the country will come to the hills if we provide them with the opportunity," the official added.

Local anglers welcomed this initiative by the GTA.

"If angling is systemised, it would benefit us all. However, I wish something could be done about saving Teesta's famous golden masheer, a fish which has become near extinct in the upstream. Since the construction of the NHPC dams at 27 Mile and Kalijhora, you hardly get to see any golden masheer," said Sangmit Lepcha, an angler.(The Telegraph)

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