Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bellandur lake: Like a fish out of water

Bellandur lake: Like a fish out of water

Imran KhanFirst Published : 16 Mar 2009 11:37:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 16 Mar 2009 02:14:55 PM IST
BANGALORE: Once, this lake was their livelihood. Today it is dying a slow death. The fishermen of Bellandur, around 400 to 500 families till the early eighties are now reduced to a mere 10, due to the contamination of the tank due to effluents and owing to the apathy of the authorities concerned.
Fishing used to be a fairly organised activity in the Bellandur tank and fishermen from Kempapura and surrounding areas used to fish in this tank for their livelihood.
People, sometimes from far off places, used to migrate here. On an average, each fisherman used to catch at least Rs 50 (10 plus kilos) worth of fish per day, says an old fisherman.
However, due to contamination of the tank through chemical effluents and rapid urbanisation, the fish started dying and the whole market crashed, says Rohan from Atree.
Rohan adds that slowly the Fisheries Department stopped issuing fishing licences for Bellandur tank, given the polluted nature of it. They also filled in and closed the fish market.
Now with the fish gone, fishermen of Bellandur have either become daily wage labourers or have moved to other lakes in search of livelihood.
The fish in this tank was very tasty till 1978, says Jagannath Reddy, ex-president of Bellandur panchayat and a prominent activist in that area.
He says, more than 400 to 500 families of fishermen were dependent on this lake.
Jagannath also highlighted the case of a HAL employee, who had resigned his government job and had made fishing his livelihood, since it was very profitable.
He said the departments concerned neglected the lake completely and they had adopted an attitude of disregard.
He said, “I have booked cases against them at the lok adalat and every department member is attending it.”


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