Vijayawada

Toddy-trunk boat adds to beauty of backwaters

A fisherman from his toddy-trunk boat casting his net near Gilakaladindi village in Krishna district. - Photo : T. Appala Naidu

A fisherman from his toddy-trunk boat casting his net near Gilakaladindi village in Krishna district. - Photo : T. Appala Naidu  

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Amid a row of mechanised boats anchored in the backwater channel at Gilakaladindi village, the beauty of the smooth sail of traditional boats made out of hollowed-out toddy tree trunk catch the attention of the passersby.

The boat, black in colour, is perceived as a symbol of India’s largest fresh water lake – Kolleru, a Ramsar Conservation site. Now-a-days, the sight of toddy-trunk boats is rare in sight in and around Atapaka Birds Sanctuary along the border of Krishna-West Godavari districts, with guidelines for conservation of fish and birds under the sanctuary limits are in force.

A few fishermen hailing from Gilakaladindi own toddy-trunk boats claim themselves lucky for eking out livelihood from it by venturing into backwater channels for fishing and catching fish seed. The backwater channel between Gilakaladindi and the entrance point of the Bay of Bengal is being guarded by the lush green mangrove forest.

“The boat can not withstand heavy wind. Hence, we never dare to move towards the sea entrance which is one km away from Gilakaladindi harbour,” a fisherman says. Given the space available inside the boat, it can accommodate only one person who needs to monitor both riding and casting net while catching fish.

“Amateur and youth can not try fishing on this boat as it requires expertise to balance on the water. It needs no repair for years and lifespan of the boat depends on quality of the toddy log,” explains another fisherman.

For fishermen families those acquainted with operation of mechanised boats and fishing on sea water, toddy-trunk boat is a new mode of option for fishing in the backwaters. However, operation of traditional boat still remains a wonder among youths as no boat owner is willing to teach technique to others owing to the fear of possibilities of casualty or drowning.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 8:27:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/toddytrunk-boat-adds-to-beauty-of-backwaters/article6691373.ece

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