DHENKANAL: This one pond has been a source of food and income for many at Similia.
Besides water, people fish, pick lotus and leafy vegetables, sunsunia and spinach, from this 150-year-old pond.
While the earnings through fishing are over ` 5 lakh a year following intervention of authorities concerned, tribal and local women make a living by selling lotus flowers and greens. It is open to all.
The pond was earlier with Raghunath Jew Monastery and later handed over to the Endowments Department.
The leafy vegetables are in great demand and people directly buy them from the pluckers. They taste good and are healthy said a consumer, Rani Agrawal.
It is a source of income for at least 30 families. “During rainy season, we take the collection to Dhenkanal Rathagada market and earn anything between ` 200 and ` 300 a day,” said Tanuja Dehury (60).
Similarly, Padma Dehury (65) spends about three to four hours, 250 days in a year, plucking leafy vegetables and lotus.
With water discharged from the pond for renovation, the greens are in abundance now. They are spread across three acres near the pond.
According to a florist Benudhar Moharana, he earns ` 50,000 to ` 1 lakh from the lotus flowers during Laxmi Puja and other festivals.