IMPHAL, July 30 - The fishing community, mostly those living in and around the Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in the North East, has expressed their desire to have their own identity in order to claim their fishing rights for a sustainable livelihood.
�So far we have no platform to raise our concerns or demands. We need our identity so that we can demand our rights for the welfare of our community,� said Kh Kiran Devi, a fisherwoman, adding, �in fact, we the fisherwomen need space in markets and other necessary facilities.�
Kiran, a fisherwoman from Langolsabi, a floating locality in Loktak, shared her opinion during a day-long State Level Consultation on National Policy on Fisheries (Inland) held here on Friday.
The consultation was organised by the All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen�s Union, Manipur (ALLAFUM) and the People�s Resources Development Association (PRDA), a Bishnupur-based NGO, at the Tribal Research Institute hall here.
Sharing similar opinions, fisherwomen Khopirom Ongbi Kiranbala, N Thasana, Maisnam Pramo and Eche Ekashini, besides fishermen N Nando, Kumar and Oinam Nabachandra also expressed their desire to have their smart cards and work for a better livelihood.
They demanded proper rest house cum jetty at suitable sites, market places, transport support, etc. and formulation of the national policy on fisheries (inland).
On the other hand, Premjit, secretary, Upokpi Khunou Club, highlighted the issues of siltation and pollution in the lake.
Environmentalists Dr RK Ranjan and Salam Rajesh spoke on certain issues related to the fishing communities, besides sharing inputs from the national consultation on the matter.
PRDA secretary L Suranjoy Singh gave the introductory remark, while ALLAFUM secretary Oinam Rajen presented the key note address.
Indigenous Perspectives� director Ram Wangkheirakpam was the moderator of the consultation which was attended by nearly 100 fishermen and fisherwomen.