Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Calcutta 7

The river Hooghly can of course also be crossed by ferry boat. There are regular services connecting a number of points in Calcutta and Howrah.

The river is near the end of her course here, before flowing into the Bay of Bengal (having begun her long journey in the snowy Himalayas and flowed through the huge north Indian plain). Hence it is highly silted, and the water is brown with clay. The Kolkata Port Trust studies the river course and when cargo ships enter the mouth of the river from the sea, they are steered by the expert Hooghly Pilots of the Port Trust.

The river is very polluted, with industrial effluents and municipal sewage being discharged into it. Animal carcasses can be seen floating. In recent years, there has been an effort to control the pollution, with some success.

The river is home to the Ganges Dolphin, which can occasionally be seen leaping up from the water.

The river is also the principal source of drinking water for the metropolis, with water treatment plants making the water potable.

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