CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Friday directed the Fisheries and Forest departments to mutually come up with a concrete set of measures to regulate use of motorboats in Chilika lake’s Mangalajodi area which is a safe haven for lakhs of migratory birds.
The court further directed the two departments to consult experts including the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) for the purpose. The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice RK Pattanaik asked a representative of BNHS to be present on March 10 to address the court on what could be the best course of action to be adopted in this regard.
The bench was hearing a PIL seeking imposition of restriction on movement of the motorboats in Mangalajodi. While Debakar Behera, a traditional fisherman of the locality filed the PIL through advocate Ashis Kumar Mishra, two other traditional fishermen - Pradipa Behera and Nibash Behera had filed intervention applications.
The bench issued the direction after perusal of an affidavit filed by the Chief Executive of Chilika Development Authority (CDA) who was earlier directed to visit the Mangalajodi and organise a consultation with local fishermen. The court expected him to impress upon the fishermen to totally avoid using motorboats while traversing the Mangalajodi waterbody.
However, in his affidavit, Chief Executive of CDA Sushant Nanda stated that during a consultation held on February 14 at the site, the fishermen expressed that they should be permitted to use the ‘main channels’ through which the motorised boats will traverse. They agreed to not use motorboats in the sub-channels subject to the main channel being dredged and made more navigable.
The CDA took the stand that the department of Fisheries should examine the matter under the provisions of the Odisha Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1981 to restrict the use of fishing gear for which licence is granted only in specified areas.