HC Fixes Nov 30 Deadline For Final Policy On Fishing In Odisha’s Chilika Lake

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has asked the state government to present the final policy for fishing in Odisha’s Chilika Lake before the court by November 30.

The two-judge bench of Chief Justice Subhasis Talapatra and Justice A K Mohapatra fixed the November deadline after state counsel DK Mohanty submitted that the process for finalisation and approval of the draft policy is underway and would be completed within the six-month time as specified in the order issued on May 15.

The bench also directed all stakeholders to submit their opinion on the draft policy for fishing in Chilika by October 10. It has fixed December 4 as next date for further consideration of the matter.

Several primary fishing cooperative societies (PFCSs) had filed petitions, seeking intervention for permission to continue with fishing activities in Chilika while alleging the emphasis has entirely been on the removal of illegal prawn gherries and culture farms with no attention being paid to the protection of the livelihood of non-traditional fishermen communities.

This followed the state government’s June 18, 1999, decision not to grant or renew lease within the lake area for fishing activity for the time-being either in favour of any PFCSs or in favour of group societies of non-fishermen.

While allowing the state counsel’s plea in May, the court had specified that traditional fishermen and the primary fishing cooperative societies (PFCSs) should be included among the stakeholders.

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