No SOP, fishermen risk lives in Pong Reservoir: The Tribune India
NURPUR, JUNE 26
The State Department of Fisheries provides subsidized fishing infrastructure to fishermen who earn their living by catching fish in the Pong reservoir in Kangra district, but in the absence of standard operating procedures (SOPs), hundreds fishermen not only risk their lives, but also put their lives in danger. others who enjoy boating in their outdated wooden boats.
Need fiber fishing boats
The state government should provide fiber fishing boats and lightweight life jackets to fishermen so that they can ensure their safety while fishing in the reservoir. Kuldeep Singh, Secretary General, Fishermen’s Association
Recently, a girl drowned in the reservoir near Sihal in Fatehpur subdivision of Kangra when an obsolete wooden boat of a fisherman capsized. Local swimmers rescued five women and two children who, together with the deceased daughter, had come to the lake for a boat ride. Such incidents while boating or fishing have occurred not only in Pong Reservoir but also in Gobind Sagar Lake in Bilaspur over the past decade. Visitors and tourists from neighboring Punjab visiting the Pong Reservoir have urged the state government to come up with SOPs for boating and ensuring the safety of riders and fishermen.
Investigations reveal that the State Department of Fisheries provided life jackets to some fishermen who were catching fish in Pong Reservoir under Prime Minister Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), but the concerned authorities never assured whether these vests were used by anglers or not.
Reportedly, when purchasing these jackets, a member of the Rafting Technical Committee serving at the Regional Water Sports Center, Pong Lake, rejected the quality of the jackets as they were heavy and uncomfortable for anglers while fishing.
There is also no proper control of the outdated wooden boats used for fishing in the reservoir. Fishermen have demanded fiber boats because they are considered safer and lighter than the wooden boats they use.
Kuldeep Singh, secretary general of the Fishermen’s Association, urged the state government to provide fiber fishing boats and lightweight life jackets to fishermen so that they can ensure their safety while fishing in the tank.
Sat Pal Mehta, director of fisheries at Bilaspur, said the department had provided 1,798 life jackets to fishermen. He said fishermen were allowed to use their traditional wooden boats for fishing purposes only and were not allowed to use them for visitor rides in the reservoir. He said that according to the official register, 2,698 fishermen from 15 fisheries cooperative societies were currently registered with the department. “Except for the last two fishing seasons during Covid, they deposited Rs 74.49793 as fishing fee with the Treasury,” he said.