Prasanta Kumar Dash
Angul, Dec 6: Manjore Medium Irrigation Project in Angul district, constructed at Manarbeda village under the Athmallik Sub-division has been a living source of livelihood for the traditional fishermen.However, the dream of the local fishermen to see the reservoir as a fishing hub is yet to come true.
The water body is getting almost dry in the summer. Thousands of wild plants, dried-up palm trees and other sediments of soil and green waste also block the ways of fishing boats to navigate.
Sources said, fishermen from at least 17 villages under the Athmallik Block and 10-12 villages under the Kishorenagar Block limits, earn their livelihood throughout the year by fishing from the reservoir, Besides, fishermen from the Boudh area, during the no-fishing period in the Mahanadi flock here for their sustenance through crocodile breeding,
The reservoir-based water resources, spread over around 64 kilometers of area, are hardly used for irrigation in the locality as several spillways and canal networks are yet to be completed. The Manjore dam is however significantly utilized by the traditional fishermen community.
The reservoir, which pulls out water from the Mahanadi and its tributaries, is a major source of wild fishes and other sweet water fishes.
Now the fishermen are in fear, for the shrinking channel due to siltation. Mithun Maharathi, a fisherman of the Puruna Katak area in Boudh said, "Once upon a time, big catches of fish were delighting us. But it’s too difficult now, to provide two square meals a day from fishing.
"I have to additionally work as a farm- laborer, to feed my family", he added.
Aquaculture research scholar, Subhashree Mishra said that Biofloc fish farming and Cage Culture are the new techniques adopted for intensifying fish culture. The Manjore reservoir could be an innovative hub of fisheries if a collective fishing plan is chalked out here.