Problems of Fisherman of Chilka Lake

02 February 2012, Khurda

A discussion on land rights and status of FRA was organised at Ekta Vidha Niketan, Village Banpur with people’s representatives. The second stop of the day was Village Rambha of Ganjam district, where a public hearing was organized with MahaMataysa Jivi Sangh (Fishermen federation). Laduwala, Coordinator, Fishermen federation shared that they are facing violence from mafia besides problem of siltation in the lake. He said that thousand lakh rupees is collected by the government as annual revenue but no serious efforts have been made by the Chilka Lake Development Authority for the development of the area. The federation is demanding permanent rights on fishing and prawn culture by abolishing annual lease system. Further, he shared that 30 years ago, the area of the lake was 1180 square km which has now reduced to 709 square km only. Lakhs of rupees were annually spent by the lake development authority on tourism while 60% of marginal fishermen’s are homeless. Bigger fishermen federation has declared its support to the Jan Satya 2012. Nisani Behra of village Rambha said that about 80 families in his village are landless. He urged the state government to provide land to fishermen of Chilka. Shri Mukand Behra shared that state government is not ready to listen to us despite several movements and agitation so we have decided to join the Jan Satayagarh and to gherao the Sansad.

Later in Baripdar village, a public meeting was organised by Big fishermen federation (Maha Matasya Sangh). Regional coordinator of Fishermen federation, Mr. Gulli Behra shared that there are 2000 families, which are dependent on the lake for their livelihood through prawn culture/fishery. But from the last five years, other non fishermen (other than local fishermen) have arrived in the region and have illegally grabbed the lake and have marked their areas for prawn culture through setting up boundaries. This has stopped the ways to commute. They are also using lots of chemical. Due to this , traditional methods of prawn culture is in the stage of extinction. This has created problem of livelihood for 147 village’s fishermen’

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