TAWA DISPLACED TRIBAL FISH PRODUCTION AND MARKETING CO-OPERATIVE FEDERATION LTD

KESLA, DISTRICT - HOSHANGABAD (M.P.)
REGISTRATION NUMBER - D.R.H/2635/DATED 3-10-1996
Email:tawamatsyasangh@yahoo.com
Phone: (07572-72171)


An Appeal



  • Will the displaced tribals of Tawa dam be displaced once more?

  • Will the unique and successful experiment of fish cooperative of displaced tribals in Tawa reservoir be killed mid-way?

  • Will the story of Bargi be repeated in Tawa?

  • Are the principles and concepts of people's participation, people's empowerment, Gram Swaraj, democratic decentralisation, tribal self-rule, tribal development, honesty etc. good only for preaching, and not for practice?


Dear Friend,

                   You may be aware that five years ago, after a long struggle, the displaced tribals of Tawa Dam got the fishing rights in the reservoir on cooperative basis.  Thirty three primary fishermen cooperative societies of displaced tribals, five primary cooperative societies of traditional fishermen and their federation ( Tawa Displaced Tribal Fish Production and Marketing Cooperative Federation, briefly known as Tawa Matsya Sangh), have done a miracle in these five years.  The cooperative has performed much better from every angle than both the earlier public sector corporation and the private contractor.

                   The fish production has grown two and a half times, the number of fishermen has become three-fold and the total income of fishermen has grown seven times.  The middlemen were abolished and the money that was earlier going into the pockets of the officers, contractors and traders, now went to the fishermen.  The Tawa Matsya Sangh successfully marketed the fish at local level as well as in distant markets of Howrah, Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal etc.  Along with increasing fish production, fish seed were also stocked honestly and responsibly by the cooperative and fish conservation rules for the reservoir were for the first time observed properly.  The Federation also paid lakhs of royalty to the State Government while earlier corporation used to show losses for many years.

                 Thus the fish cooperative of Tawa displaced tribals established a new model of successful management of reservoir fisheries through people's participation.  There are many achievements to its credit.  It is also a new model of rehabilitation of displaced persons as well as an example of how local communities can best manage, use and develop the natural resources.

                 But naturally, there are some people who do not like this.  The vested interests are affected.  The proposal for extension of lease of reservoir that expires on 23rd December 2001 was sent by Tawa Matsya Sangh to the State Government in early April.  It asked for (1). new lease of ten years, (2) reduction in royalty which is excessive, (3)provision of infrastructure, such as an ice factory and handover of Pawarkheda hatchery and fish seed farm to it, (4) exemption of registration fees and stamped duty for the new agreement etc.

                     But for last seven months the State Government has not replied to this proposal.  The Chief Minister has not given even an appointment and hearing to them.  A review committee of three officials has been formed, but for the last six months it has not even talked to the Tawa Matsya Sangh.  It only interviewed some fishermen in a rude manner.  This committee consists of the Principal Secretary of Fisheries, the Director of Fisheries and the Managing Director of state level fish cooperative federation.  Their hostility towards the Tawa Matsya Sangh is not even hidden.  Meanwhile the state level federation has invented several overdues and discovered many complaints against the Tawa Matsya Sangh, which were not even once demanded or voiced during the first four years.  Clearly, the purpose is to block the renewal of lease of Tawa Matsya Sangh.  The intention of the state bureaucracy, the contractors, and the corrupt politicians is to take away  the marketing and overall management of Tawa Reservoir from Tawa Matsya Sangh and handover to the state level federation over which they have full control. In  this manner they want to kill a growing movement of rights of local communities, tribals and displaced persons.   They are also apprehensive of spread of this movement to other reservoirs.  They have already destroyed a similar experiment in Bargi Dam on Narmada river.

                 Meanwhile, sensing that the government is not in favour of Tawa Matsya Sangh, the local agents, contractors, fish poachers, etc. have also become active.  Around forty bogus cooperative societies of fishermen were formed in 1996 to intrude into this cooperative experiment but that time the unity of displaced tribals and the presence of some good officials in the Government, prevented their entry.  They have become active again and are demanding their inclusion.  Certain fish poachers of neighbouring Betul district got protection from a goonda and a state minister.  They attacked the tribal directors and employees of Tawa Matsya Sangh on 15th October 2001, who had gone there to check and enquire.  The police even refused to lodge an FIR and arrested the tribals themselves.  After dharnas and representation to State DGP and MP Human Rights Commission, an FIR was registered after ten days.  But the culprits have not been arrested as yet.

                 The displaced tribal and other fishermen have taken an oath on 2nd November 2001 that they will remain united and organized and will not allow anyone to take away their rights.  They will not allow any outside agency other than Tawa Matsya Sangh in the reservoir.  The men and women of the villages are signing a petition to the President , the Prime Minister, and the Chief Minister.

                 We appeal to you to help in this struggle of displaced tribal fishermen.  Please write immediately a letter to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (Fax No. 0755-540501), write articles, reports and issue statements (please send a copy to us), and help in any other manner.  Your support and solidarity in the struggle of displaced tribal fishermen against the exploitation, corruption, loot and evil designs of vested interests will be very important.  We all must ensure that truth, honesty, justice and people's will prevail in the struggle.

                  We shall expect a response and an early reply from you.

Yours sincerely,

Sabbulal,
Chairman, Tawa Matsya Sangh

Fagram,
Secretary, Kisan Adivasi Sanghatan,

Smita,
Asst. Manager, Tawa Matsya Sangh

Sunil,
Advisor, Tawa Matsya Sangh


Fish production in Tawa Reservoir : A Comparative  Analysis

Year Production
(in tons)
Production/Hectare
(in kgs)
Stocking of Fish seed (in lakhs) No of working fishermen Working days Total wages paid (in lakhs) Management

1990-91

130.69

10.75

20.67

120

  ___

6.10

Corporation

1991-92

140.01

12.05

24.85

110

  ___

7.32

Corporation

1992-93

88.67

7.30

16.43

116

  ­­___

4.57

Corporation

1993-94

84.12

6.95

27.48

177

  ___

4.92

Corporation

1994-95

176.18

15.50

17.96

220

221

11.20

Contractor

1995-96

                                                           No official fishing

1990-91 to 1994-95
(Five years Average)

125.19

10.31

21.48

149

   ___

6.82

   ___

1996-97

(3-Months)

93.229

7.68

_____

379

85

11.09

TMS

1997-98

245.811

20.24

­26.13

393

267

30.45

TMS

1998-99

344.375

28.35

27.90

400

257

47.15

TMS

1999-2000

393.163

32.37

29.47

479

262

52.12

TMS

2000-2001

327.175

26.94

32.19

477

250

47.46

TMS

1997-98 to 2000-01
(Four years Average)

327.631

26.97

28.92

437

259

44.29

TMS

Corporation -- M.P.State Fish Development Corporation
TMS -- (Tawa Matsya Sangh)