Coop. society for tribal fishermen formed

M. Gunasekaran

This gives them the right for fishing in Amaravathi Reservoir

UDUMALPET: In an effort to provide alternative employment for tribals and to improve their livelihood, the Fisheries Department has issued orders to form the Amaravathi Nagar Tribal Fishermen Cooperative Society here.

The formation of the society will give the tribals the right for fishing in the Amaravathi Reservoir, 22 km from here. Fifty tribals who reside at Karattupathi settlement, close to the reservoir, have enrolled themselves as members of the society and eight of them have received licence for fishing. Thus, they will enjoy one-third share of their daily catch.

It was the Forest Department authorities here who initiated efforts a couple of years ago to form the society under the joint forest management programme. K.R. Varadharajan, wildlife warden of the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, inaugurated the society at Amaravathi Nagar on Monday.

For the first time in the State such a cooperative society had been formed for tribals, and this alternative employment would reduce their dependency on forests, he said.

The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation (TNFDC) has appointed eight tribals as share fishermen of the reservoir. They could go for fishing in the reservoir along with the inland fishermen. They should handover their catch to the TNFDC and get the money for their share once in a fortnight.

Pollachi Sub-Collector Vijay Pingale issued the appointment letters to the fishermen, who are physically fit for fishing. He visited the settlement and interacted with the tribals. He promised them all support from the Revenue Department.

Amal Xavier, regional deputy director of Fisheries Department, issued recognition certificate for the society. TNFDC manager J. Castro highlighted the benefits of the novel programme. V. Sundaramoorthy, deputy manager, TNFDC, said that a fisherman and his assistant (in most cases wife or a relative of the tribal) could earn more than Rs. 2,000 a month through this arrangement. “The dam has a storage area of 960 hectares. Normally, a fisherman can catch over 20 kg of fish. When the storage dips the catch would go up manifold,” he added.

He said the department was expecting an yield of 110 tonnes of fishes from the reservoir. He expressed hope that the roping in of the tribals for fishing would fetch more revenue to the Government. More number of tribals would be given licence and financial assistance to procure coracles.

Besides enjoying the fishing rights, the tribal people are entitled to get all Government assistance as like inland fishermen. As there is a ban on admitting new members in cooperative societies, the Government has issued a special order to form the society exclusively for tribals.

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