It is no secret that fish has been the first love of many a resident of this state. Differences and disputes have ended in amity over a bowl of katlacurry and steaming rice or a plate of fried hilsa to munch with the brew that cheers and inebriates in the evening.
Small wonder, fish is in the news again. But it is not for its scarcity or glut. For the fishes which have hit the headlines are not of the edible variety. It is the guppy. Being one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species, a shoal of colourful guppies swimming in an aquamarine fish bowl always draws a second glance from visitors.
The propensity of these colourful fishes to feed on aquatic insect larvae is planned to be deployed to combat the menace of dengue. Mosquito larvae in water being a source of dengue, the guppies have been planned to be cast in the unlikely role of predators. The irony of the situation is for all there to see. So far the humans have been chary of the mosquitoes. Now it would be the turn of the buzzing squadron before they take wings to be preyed upon by none other than a live decoration of lounges.
Actors and songsters are often seen on television asking people to beware of the buzzing insects. One does not know whether their sermon is being lent an ear yet, but the fact remains passengers in railway and Metro stations are listening to the jingles being shown on the screen of the television sets at surface and underground platforms. Perhaps it is a matter of time when guppies too will find place in these jingles.
The plan to set the guppy packs in the trail of the mosquito larvae has been taken off from the drawing board. Shoals of guppieshave already been set free and roamed in water bodies in search of their static prey. But if the opinion of the experts is anything to go by, the timing of their being deployed to nip the dengue menace on the bud was not right.
Moreover, the guppies roamed their watery hunting ground only in a few limited areas of the state. Such glitches would be dispensed with this time as a more widespread cleansing operation of mosquito larvae is on the cards. One wonders whether the state fisheries department would be able to acquire crores of guppies on its own. Though the fact remains that there were no takers for the call given by the powers that be in the state to the jobless youth to make a fortune by frying fritters, an offer to do business with guppies will not be farfetched.
Perhaps those entrepreneurs who did not quite buy the tale of getting rich in fritter trade will not backtrack in securing sub-contracts to supply guppies. Apart from the moolah, it is indeed a venture to risk some of their capital and time as they will have to sweat it out especially since they too are not immune from mosquito-bourne diseases. To reap the profit, they will indeed have to groove with the guppies.