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4 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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The ‘Water Lords’ of Sunamganj

UNB
The ‘Water Lords’ of Sunamganj

Sunamganj: For decades, the fishing community of Sunamganj, famous as the land of ‘haors and baors’ - low-lying wetlands that lend the region its unique ecosystem - has been denied the opportunity to actually engage in any fishing at all in the jalmahal (open water bodies) for last few decades as the local dominants control the jalmahal for all year long, reports UNB.

Although these fishermen get lease on paper but they hardly get benefited from this jalmahal.

Sunamganj is a haor-based district. There have many large jalmahal in different parts of the district. Fisheries, stones and paddy are the main income sources and livelihoods of the people in the region.

Local sources said according to the rules, the fishermen samiti is formed with fishermen and they get lease the large jalmahal on paper. But they hardly get benefited from this as the local dominants control the jalmahal.

As a result, the fate of grassroots fishermen could not change. Due to the absence of supervision and incautiousness of the registration authority, the jalmahals are under the control of local dominants, fishermen alleged.

Talking to UNB, fishermen Kanak of Sullah upazila and Kacha Mia of Jamalganj upazila said, although they are living besides the jammahals, they could not netting fish from the jalmahal as the deployed guards of the dominants obstruct them.

Members of fishermen samiti get lease of the jalmahal but they are not allowed to catch fish. The real grassroots fishermen get a little money from the dominants after taking lease and they (dominants) make more money farming the jalmahal for all year round, they added.

Mia Dhan of Monigao village in Tahirpur upazila, said the jalmahal is being leased at Tk lakh to crore according to its seize. The poor fishermen could not able to take lease the jalmahals with that huge money. So they compel to sell their right to the dominant people in the area for a little money.

Some members of the fishermen samiti said the grassroots fishermen can not take lease the jalmahal and allow to netting fish in the water-body although the price of jalmahal brought under control.

The local dominants get lease the jalmahal and they are familiar as “water lord” in the region. If anyone protests of the incident, then sound of bullet fire and murder incident took place in the haor track. Several murder incidents described to the UNB correspondent, they added.

Meanwhile, a question has been raised regarding the open and bound water-body lease that according to rules, no water-body to give lease for money. But the leasing system is running for last few decades, alleged the representatives of citizen society.

Deputy Commissioner Sabirul Islam said “The fishermen apply for haor-lease to the government and we give lease haor to them.”

No fishermen have made allegation that they could not catch fish in a haor by being hostage to anyone. “If we have such a complaint, we will consider it seriously and take necessary measures in this connection,” he added.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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