Kerala

Where tribespeople fish for a living

A tribal couple fishing in a canoe in Cheruthoni dam reservoir.

A tribal couple fishing in a canoe in Cheruthoni dam reservoir.  

Residents of Kolumban Colony near Cheruthoni dam get a sustainable income from fishing

The descendants of Kolumban, the tribal leader who was instrumental in realising the Idukki dam can rejoice now.

The people living in the Kolumban Colony near to the dam in Cheruthoni are able to get a sustainable income from fishing thanks to the intervention of the Forest Department.

One can spot the tribespeople fishing in the dam using small canoe or angling in the forest areas.

They often get good catch and it gets sold like hot cakes as the fish given by them are fresh.

Regular income

The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary under Wildlife Warden P.U. Saju had started the Matsaranyakam project with the aim to provide a regular income to the residents of the economically backward Kolumban Colony.

The good taste of the fish has many takers and the Eco Development Committee (EDC) members catch the fish and the marketing is done by a seven-member fishermen sub group.

The price per kg is fixed at ₹250 and the amount directly goes to the account of the fisherman each day in accordance with the quantity he supplied, said assistant wildlife warden M.G Vinodhkumar.

He said that the tribals used to traditionally fish in small canoes.

However, there was exploitation as the price was decided by the buyer. The tribespeople used to get a meagre amount and it was at this juncture the Forest Department as facilitator sought the help of regular buyers.

A whatsapp group now daily purchases the fish and the payment is directly made to the bank account of each fishermen, he added.

Kolumban Colony Oorumooppan T.V.Rajappan and a resident Thankan are leading the scheme.

Better price

Thankan told The Hindu that they were now able to get a better price, though one cannot predict the level of catch. The fish catch is in small scale and some times they may not get the price as expected.

However as the dam waters starts increasing since the start of June, their catch would also increase. One can also purchase fish directly from the stall near the Vellapara forest office at 10 a.m, in addition to the advance booking.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:45:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/where-tribespeople-fish-for-a-living/article27153494.ece

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