CMM threatens to take control of Chilika lake

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 13 (UNI) Chilika Mastchyajibi Mahasangha (CMM), a federation of fishermen in Chilika, today threatened to take control of Chilika lake if fishing right was accorded to non-fishermen in the lake.

CMM president Mahadev Behera and secretary Baikunthanath Behera demanded the state government pass a bill in the Assembly abolishing the provisions of providing 30 per cent of the lake's total area to non-fishermen.

The government had introduced the bill in 2003 after the Supreme Court struck down a high court order and asked the state government to formulate a law which could maintain a balance between the two groups.

The CMM, while demanding the government give the right to fish (Praja satwa) in Chilika lake, alleged that the mafia were indulging in illegal prawn culture in Chilika ignoring the traditional rights of fishermen through 'gheri bandh'.

Fish production, Mr Behera said, was declining and thousands of fishermen were forced to work as daily labourers.

The federation leaders said the people of fifteen villages were under threat of being swept away by the sea owing to the 'wrong' decision of the Chilika Development Authority(CDA) in opening of a new mouth to the sea.

The people were under constant threat as a new mouth was opened near Gabakunda, the CMM leaders said, and demanded the government provide relief to the people and construct a stone wall to protect the villages from sea erosions.

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