Chilika is the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia, home to over 3 lakh fisherfolk. This chapter depicts the rising resistance of the Matsyajibi Mahasangha and the Chilika Bachao Andolan when the Odisha government invited the Tatas in early 1991 for a prawn cultivation project. Although the movement against Tata was successful with the withdrawal of the company, the stranglehold of the upper-caste traders and fishing mafia became more tight over the years. The chapter also highlights the tyranny of the fishing mafia formed of upper caste big traders from Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar that continues till date. As commercial prawn cultivation began taking over large sections of the lake, it destroyed the livelihood of local fisherfolk as well as caused immense ecological damage to the lake.
The movement was a struggle of the fisherpeople against ‘development’—a form of development which threatened to leave them destitute from a habitat that coexists since centuries.
KeywordsChilika Matsyajibi Mahasangha Chilika Bachao Andolan Prawn cultivation Chilika Fishing rights Sorana Primary Fishermen Co-operative Society Chilika Teere Kalijai
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