On the hilt of a successful protest that led to the state government scrapping the Haripur nuclear plant project,fishermen of West Bengal are now demanding right to catch fish along the 158-kilometre coastline of the state.
Fishermen under the banner Dakshin Banga Matsyajibi Forum (DBMF) have even roped in acclaimed writer and activist Mahasweta Devi who has assured them that she would persoanlly raise their demand with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“I am very much alive to the fishermens demands. I have known the representatives of this movement for long,” said Mahasweta Devi and added that families of the fishermen should be educated about their rights.
Fishermen want access to areas like Jambudwip in the Sunderbans from where they were evacuated during the Left Front rule. They are also demanding implementation of old-age pension scheme for the community and the biometric identification of fishermen among others.
“There are schemes like old age pension and building up houses for economically weaker section that has not been implemented under the previous government. We hope that this government takes steps to implement these,” said Debasis Shyamal,the general secretary of the forum.
Stating that there are 20 lakh odd fishermen in the state,Shyamal said that as per the Forest Right Act of 2006,fisherman have a right to catch fish in Sunderbans.