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Fisheries in Bundelkhand

Fishing is done, mainly by scheduled caste groups like Dhimar, in the numerous tanks and ponds of the region, especially in MP Bundelkhand. For instance, district statistical handbook data of Chhatarpur indicates that in 2004 the district had 761 ponds, covering in all an area of around 1600 hectares, where fishing was done. Annual fish production was 2500 metric tonnes. (See Flora and Fauna of Bundelkhand for listing of fish varieties found in the region).

Fishing leases are given to fishermen's cooperative societies but quite often, the societies are controlled by big landlords or powerful musclemen ('dabangs'). The fishermen themselves do not own the boats or nets they use; these are owned by the well-off landlords, who pay the fishermen daily wages and take away all the earnings from the catch. The fishermen do all the work, from breeding to selling in local markets. In many other cases, the fishermen are controlled by middlemen who finance the business.

Other problems faced frequently are high silting and early drying up of ponds, due to poor maintenance. As noted in Traditional Tanks of Bundelkhand, local vested interests work to ensure that ponds dry up fast, so that they can use the land for agriculture.






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