Forest dept order over fishing leaves fishermen in lurch

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Athagarh, March 6: over 2000 fishermen of Athagarh and Nayagarh blocks in Cuttack district are desperately searching for alternative livelihood after the Forest department has prohibited fishing in river Mahanadi passing through their villages.5

These fishermen belonging to 300 families of five villages have been running from pillar to post to persuade the forest officials and district administration to provide them with facilities for alternative occupation to sustain livelihood.

According to sources, the fishermen belong to Baliput, Kamaladiha, ranibhuin, managaon village under Narsinghpur block and Badamulabechiasahi of Nayagarh.

The Satkosia Wildlife Division authority had imposed the ban nearly seven months ago.

Though the forest authorities assured the affected fishermen of providing alternative opportunities such as pisciculture and farming offering them several ponds and plots, they are yet to receive the benefits.

These fishermen used to catch nearly five quintals fish in Athagarh, nayagarh, Narsinghpur and badamba areas daily as their livelihood.

However, Angul DFO SMDT Rehman, said that the sanctuary rules forbid fishing in gorges of the river that flow along the forest area as it reduces fish, crab for the crocodile population.

However, the administration has provided them tents and other related items to develop eco-tourism sites which they have rejected, Rehman said.

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