31st Aug 2010
Sharmila left at 7:30am for Bombay.
I Washed the bike, and packed all my clothes that were fresh and clean thanks to the washing machine.
After breakfast, left at 10:30am for Sagar,( Madhya Pradesh).
Have to admit the roads from Pathraad to Bhopal and Bhopal to Sagar were really good.
Shrikant had given me a contact of Mr. R.N.Khare in Sagar. He had been a government employee- the Regional Organiser, Fisheries, Sagar Division.
He gave me this information:The fishing community displaced by the Rani Avantibai Sagar reservoir formed by the Bargi dam is as follows (30 big dams are proposed on the Narmada Sardar Sarovar, the three dams I wrote about yesterday Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Indirasagar and Bargi are amongst these see map below)
19 villages from Jabalpur zilla, 48 from Sivani zilla and 95 from Mandala zilla- altogether one lakh people were displaced. They were given monetary compensation which was not enough. The people had no means of livelihood they were not allowed to fish in the reservoir. Protests continued. On 20th Sept 1992 a huge rally of fishing boats sailed on the Narmada for 50 km and landed at Bargi. More than 350 boats participated. Many of these protestors were jailed. In 1993 when Madhya Pradesh was under the Presidents rule ( After the demolition of the Babri Mosque) The Governor Kuwar Mehmood Ali agreed to the demands of the protestors. As a measure of rehabilitation, he not only allowed them to fish in the reservoir, but gave them 20% ownership to the catch. i.e if they caught 100 tons of fish, they had to pay the Govt a royalty of Rs. 6 per ton on 80 tons and 20 tons was theirs for free. He also initiated the forming of fishing co-operative societies. 54 co-op socs were formed- each having 25 members (fishermen) When Digvijay Singh came to power he up held the Governor’s decision for rehabilitation of the fisher folk.
Mr. Khare who was now retired from his Govt job, was invited by the NBA because of his sympathies and his experience and expertise to form and manage these Co-operatives, (known as the Bargi dam displaced fishing and marketing co-operative society limited)
Mr. Khare fished out a report that was published and gave me this statistical information: From 6-10-94 to 31-05-95 471.755 tons of fish was caught.
80% of this = 377.404 tons @ Rs. 6/- per ton = Rs 22,64,424/- This amount was paid to the Govt. and the fisher folk earned a profit of Rs.18,87,020/-
In 1998 the Govt. took over the co-operatives and gave the fishing rights to private companies. A terrific instance of successful rehabilitation was axed for no justifiable reason. Protests followed but to no gains. The fishermen are now employed to catch fish and paid Rs. 17 /kg while the same is marketed by the fishing companies for Rs. 100/- to125/- per kilo. The Governments share of earning has also gone down to half of what it received from the co-operatives!
We had tea looking at some old photographs of the working of the Co-op societies. Taking his recommendation on where to spend the night went to look for lodging