Protect fishermen by removing Chilika encroachments: Orissa HC

Posted By: Pti
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Cuttack, Feb 4 (PTI) Refusing to interfere with theongoing demolition of unauthorised prawn culture encroachmentsaround Chilika lake, the Orissa High Court today directed thestate government to frame a detailed policy soon.

The policy should ensure that no shrimp culture pondsare set up within a kilometre of the lake as directed by theSupreme Court in 1996.

The High Court also asked the government to removeall encroachments from the lake and provide adequateprotection to primary fishermen of the area to carry on theirtraditional fishing practices for the purpose of earning theirlivelihood.

The directions came from the Division Bench of ChiefJustice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra whiledisposing two writ petitions filed in connection with theongoing controversies of demolition of encroachments inChilika Lake.

"We are not inclined to interfere with the demolitionactivities undertaken by the government for evictingunauthorised prawn culture in Chilika which is in conformitywith the judgement of the apex court in S Jagannath v/s Unionof India case and the Chilika fishing policy framed by thegovernment of Orissa," the bench said.

Allowing the petition filed by Ambika Primary FishingCooperative Society, a body of traditional fishermen of thearea, the court granted relief to local fishermen and directedthe government to frame a fresh Chilika policy removing allillegal encroachments within one kilometre of the lake.

"State government shall take effective steps to ensurethat no aquaculture industry or shrimp culture ponds shall beconstructed or set up within 1000 mts of Chilika Lake. If suchindustries are already functioning, the same shall be closeddown or demolished forthwith," the HC said.

Directing the state government to frame a detailed andclear-cut Chilika Policy, the High Court asked

The local administration should ensure all-rounddevelopment of the lake as well as welfare of traditionalfishermen living in and around Chilika.

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