On April 9, 2023, ActionAid Association helped organize the Jal Shramik Sangh provincial conference in Patna in collaboration with the Ganga Mukti Andolan, Jal Shramik Sangh and the Braj Kishore Memorial. Sarvodaya leader P.B. Rajagopal presided over the function, while National Coordinator of Ganga Mukti Andolan Ramsharan and Rashtra Seva Dal Provincial President Uday conducted it. The program’s special guest was Arvind Nishad, a member of the Most Backward Classes Commission.
During the convention, Yogendra Sahni, provincial convenor of the Jal Shramik Sangh, said thatin 1991, the right to fish was given to traditional fishermen. Still, all the rivers and streams of Bihar were not gazetted. According to the Gazette, fishing by poisoning, explosion or electrocution is prohibited, yet this law has remained ineffective due to lack of stringent implementation. Efforts were needed to ensure the livelihood of fishermen and prevent migration. Also, authorities must balance the right to fish with the need to avoid depleting rivers from fish stock. The fishermen stressed the need for the Legislative Assembly to pass a bill giving communities the right to fish. Through that Act, practices deemed detrimental to the eco-diversity of rivers, such as fencing and running of small nets, should be declared a cognizable offence, with strict punishment. Furthermore, participants expressed the need to include fishermen in Scheduled Tribes. This would go a long way in recognizing their vulnerable status and help in taking steps to improve their livelihoods.
The meeting decided to send a delegation to the Hon’ble Minister of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry of Bihar and convey the issues of concern raised by the participants. The conference also expressed the need for fisherfolk to form a registered union. The meeting elected an executive committee and declared that the association should be named “Matsyajibi Water Workers Union”.
Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid Association, spoke at the event, sharing how climate change has impacted traditional livelihoods, underlining the need to assess such damage caused and provide proper compensation to all.
A large number of civil society activists attended the conference. About 400 fishermen from various districts of Bihar, including Bhagalpur, Munger, Nawada, Supaul, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Saran, Bhojpur, and Patna, participated.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
* Mandatory fields
My ActionAid page
My ActionAid is an interactive space created exclusively
for ActionAid donors to express themselves, to get in touch with us , to be a part
of our campaigns and to trace their journey with the ActionAid family!