Chenchus eye Srisailam reservoir for fishing – Hindu 22-1-11 Kurnool edition

Special Correspondent
Success of Mahabubnagar Chenchus enthuses Yerrapenta, Rangapur tribes

Fight for rights:Rusul Cheruvu in Mahabubnagar where Chenchus established fishing rights.
–Photo: Subramanyam

KURNOOL: Bolstered by the victory over fishermen in the scheduled area of Mahabubnagar district, the Chenchus of Nallamala forest are preparing to stake claim for exclusive fishing rights in the Srisailam reservoir too.
The NGOs and agencies backing Chenchus are exploring the possibility of establishing exclusive rights of primitive tribal groups in the forest areas. The decade-long fight by Chenchus in Mahabubnagar yielded in the exclusive rights for the tribes at Rusul Cheruvu in Balmur mandal. When fishermen tried to enter the tank, the traditional fishermen who were catching the fishing through a cooperative society objected to their entry. Even a violent clash took place between the two communities.
However, the Chenchus took up the matter with the government saying that non-tribals cannot have the rights in the Scheduled Area. The Tribal Department stood by the Chenchus while the revenue authorities were in a dilemma. Finally, through a Court directive Chenchus got their rights established and formed the cooperative society evicting non-tribal fishermen. Rusul Cheruvu has a capacity to produce ten tonnes of fish every year worth Rs. 5 lakh. The Chenchus of Billekal got the rights over the tank. Enthused by the success, the tribes of Yerrapenta in Lingala mandal and Rangapur also took over the local tanks. Meanwhile, the agencies supporting Chenchus set eyes on Srisailam reservoir which is located in the sanctuary. Technically only tribes could stake claim for the fishing rights. However, migrant fishermen were involved in fishing in the reservoir. The reservoir produces 10,000 tonne fish as per the records of the Fisheries Department. The department which issued licenses to fishermen is not bothered about the sensitive tribal issues involved.