Traditional fishermen demand halt to sand extraction from rivers in CRZ

At a time when the government has been allowing sand extraction from river beds in coastal regulation zones (CRZ) in the guise of clearing sand dunes for fishing boats’ movement, the Moola Nadi Meenugarara Sanghs (traditional river fishermen association) on Friday urged the authorities concerned to immediately halt the activities as sand extraction was affecting traditional fishermen.

Fishermen leader Vasudeva Boloor told reporters here traditional fishing was being done for time immemorial and the present generation of fishermen too was engaged in traditional fishing in rivers in the CRZ area. Fishermen get into the river directly to lay nets and the methods were called Bolpubale, Rampani etc. On the other hand, fisherwomen collect Maruvai (clam) from rivers, he said.

However, extensive sand extraction from river beds in CRZ in the recent past has been threatening traditional fishermen wherein river beds become deep. Even women were finding it difficult to collect Maruvai. While fishermen were negotiating rivers using Jalle (long poles), they were unable to do so now because of the increased depth, up to 30 ft at some locations. Nets of fishermen were getting damaged as sand extractors were leaving their boats anchored in rivers for long time, Mr. Boloor said.

Some extractors were using machinery too to extract sand due to which the river bed becomes too deep. Lime stones and other chemical material have come up because of deep sand extraction, affecting fishing activities. On the other hand, well water on river banks has become saline even as sand transporting trucks were polluting the environment.

A factory producing edible oils on the banks of Phalguni (Gurupura) river near Kulur has been letting out effluents into the river thereby destroying the marine life, Mr. Boloor alleged.

The authorities have not acted upon representations given by fishermen so far, Mr. Boloor said, warning launching of an agitation if sand extraction was not halted or regulated. The Karnataka Karavali Meenugarara Sangha has extended support for the cause, he added.

Sangha President Harish Puthran, General Secretary Naveen Salian and others were present.

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