Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday sparked another controversy by saying that ducks automatically increase oxygen levels in water bodies, The Indian Express reported. Deb proposed to distribute ducks to help improve the rural economy. His comments have drawn criticism from several quarters.

The chief minister told the gathering at a traditional boat race at Rudrasagar, an artificial lake around water palace Neermahal, that he planned to distribute 50,000 ducklings to fishermen around the water body. “When ducks swim in water, the oxygen level automatically increases in the water body,” The Indian Express quoted Deb as saying. “It [oxygen] gets recycled. Fish in the water will get more oxygen. They also benefit from the bird droppings. Thus, pisciculture will benefit and fish will grow faster, that too in a completely organic way.”

Tripura Pradesh Congress leader Tapas Dey said policy decisions should be based on “sound and proper scientific evidence”.

However, a study on integrated fish-duck farming published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said ducks aerate the water while swimming and are called “biological aerators”.

A series of gaffes

Deb, who took charge as chief minister in March, made the first of his seemingly absurd statements on April 18, when he said that the internet had existed during the time of the Mahabharata. Twitter users found this hilarious, and the remark also got him international coverage. Day later, he said that the government’s achievement of sending “104 satellites a year to space” proved claims in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Upanishads that ancient India had a developed scientific tradition.

He followed that up a week later by saying that 1997 Miss World Diana Hayden was not worthy of the crown and that Aishwarya Rai, who won the title in 1999, was a better representation of Indian beauty. Deb apologised after facing backlash.

A day later, the chief minister again became the target of jokes when he claimed that civil engineers, and not mechanical engineers, should opt for civil services. He followed it up with a statement that the nails of those who criticise his government should be chopped off.

In May, Deb falsely claimed that Rabindranath Tagore refused to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature to protest against British rule in India.