350 fishermen families in dire straits | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 07, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:01 AM, February 07, 2020

350 fishermen families in dire straits

They are unable to catch fish as Kumirdaha Beel has been occupied

Around 350 families of fishermen community are passing miserable life as they were obstructed from catching fish in Kumirdaha Beel of Saghata upazila.

In 2010, a group of local influential people forcibly took position in the water body in Guridaha union and since then the fishermen cannot catch fish due to the repeated threat from the grabbers, said local fishermen. 

Due to this, many fishermen have already changed their ancestral profession. They are now taking up jobs of rickshaw-van pulling and farm labourers for earning their livelihood. 

Three decades ago, the Bangalee river has turned into beel on 13 acres of land after it dried up.

They have been obstructed from catching fish in the beel for long, but the authorities concerned are yet to take any steps in this regard despite repeated pleas, said the affected fishermen.

Joshna Chandra Das, president of Kumirdaha Matshajibi Samity, said in 2015, they filed a case against the influential persons and got court order in their favour, but they are to get possession of the marshy land.

Joshna Chandra further said earlier in 2014, they deposited Tk 1.80 lakh to the government to take lease of the land and the district administration allocated a portion of the beel to them.

But they are yet to get possession of the open water body, said Joshna.

They have recently submitted a memorandum to deputy commissioner demanding possession of the allocated water body, but any initiative is yet to be taken in this regard, said Joshna.

Sharif Hossain, one of the existing possession holders, said they have 65 heirs of the 13-acre land.

“Many of us are still engaged in the fishing profession, but no such water body is available nearby,” said Khagendra Nath Das, a fisherman.

Bashanti Rani Das of Kumirdaha village said as it is difficult to run the four-member family with the little earning of his husband, she now works as domestic help.

Some solvent fishermen have been engaged in selling fish bought from pond owners of distant areas, but the poor fishermen were compelled to change their profession, said Sudharam Das, a fisherman of the area.

They are now taking up jobs of rickshaw-van pulling and farm labourers for earning their livelihood, he said.

Sakil Ahmed, assistant commissioner (Land) in Saghata upazila, said the beel is situated on government khas land. So, the matter of leasing out the water body to the fishermen is under consideration.

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