The landscape of Narmada’s banks bruised by excessive sand mining. Photo by Rahul Yadav/Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Cooperative hope

Amid the destruction of river by mining and damming, cooperative movements in the Narmada valley have kept hope alive for the beleaguered fishers. In 2017, 32 cooperative societies, comprising more than 1,000 fishers, were registered in four districts affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

These cooperatives have proposed to form a federation. They hope to get fishing and management rights in the river and reservoirs of the Narmada, as fellow fishers around the Tawa and Bargi dams got nearly two decades ago after a spirited struggle.

“We are with the tribals and other communities. As they have rights over forests, they should also get rights of fishing,” said Sajjan Singh Varma, environment minister of Madhya Pradesh. “Anyone who fights for this, I will stand with him.”

Dams and rampant mining of sand from the foreshore and riverbed of the Narmada have damaged the riverine ecology, affecting livelihoods of the communities living in the river valley. Photo by Hridayesh Joshi.
Dams and rampant mining of sand from the foreshore and riverbed of the Narmada have damaged the riverine ecology, affecting livelihoods of the communities living in the river valley. Photo by Rahul Yadav/Narmada Bachao Andolan.

 

Banner image: Madhu (L) and Gappu (R), members of the fishing community in Barwani district, Madhya Pradesh, find it difficult to earn a living from fishing due to the condition of Narmada worsened by dams and sand mining. Photo by Hridayesh Joshi.

Article published by Sandhya Sekar
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