Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua works with locals to stop overfishing in Mizoram

NEW DELHI: In a noble gesture to help local people, Blue Tigers, and SC East Bengal striker Jeje Lalpekhlua along with a number of youths from his village -- Model Veng Hnahthial -- have put their hands together to form a group that works day and night to help preserve the ecosystem of the river that flows close to their homes.

Just a few weeks back the banks of the Tuichang River in Mizoram was abuzz with the activities of locals and Jeje kept a vigilant eye on the river.

"Overfishing has greatly reduced the number of fishes in the Tuichang River over the years. It was turning out to be a big problem, even for the local fishermen, who depend on the river for their livelihoods,"
Jeje said to

The local people of Model Veng thus identified a 500m stretch along the banks of the Tuichang, where the fish are believed to have their spawning ground, where they have set up a 24-hour patrol, taking different shifts, to make sure no fishing activities go on.

"Over the last year, we have all taken turns to patrol this stretch to make sure that nobody catches fish in this area. It's very important for us to leave the fish alone, at least in the spawning areas. Just with this small step we are already seeing the results," informed Jeje.

"There are so many fish in the river now -- local fishermen say that they haven't seen so many in the river for years," he added.

The Blue Tigers striker said he has been lending his hand for the noble cause whenever he is not playing competitive football.

"The guys in the village have really worked hard to ensure that this happens. They have all taken rotating shifts around the clock for 24 hours to keep an eye on the river banks. I have also been helping out whenever I've been in town," said Jeje.

"Of course, it's not always possible during the season, when we had to spend five months in the bio-bubble in the ISL," he added.

Jeje and the local boys have also been in constant touch with the local government authorities who have also stood by and supported their conservation activities.

"We have been in touch with the Forest Department of Mizoram. If there are any issues, we inform them. They too lend us support," said Jeje.

"There is a fishing area not very far from the parts where we set up our patrol. But since that is not exactly a spawning area, it has not had as much effect."

Jeje, who is fondly known as the 'Mizo Sniper' amongst his fans, feels that it is important to keep everyone's interest in mind, when it comes to protecting the environment. It is only through such endeavours that society can move forward together.

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