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Jambu fishermen back to work

Calcutta, Dec. 23: Fishermen who were evicted by forest guards from Jambudwip, the Sunderbans island, were reinstated by the parliamentary team that came to probe allegations of encroachment against them.

A 42-member parliamentary standing committee attached to the forest and environment and the science and technology ministries went to the island yesterday.

The forest and fisheries departments of the state government have been at loggerheads over the eviction of fishermen from Jambudwip over the past six months. The fishermen had been using a portion of the island to dry their catch between October and March since 1955 but the forest department alleged that the presence of more than 10,000 fishermen in the core area of the Sunderbans was disturbing its flora and fauna. The fisheries department had, however, said there was no polluting activity on the island.

A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court and it constituted a high-level committee for an on-the-spot inquiry.

Fisheries minister Kironmoy Nanda said the chairman of the parliamentary committee, C. Ramaiyya, addressed the evicted fishermen yesterday and expressed “full sympathy” towards the people eking livelihood in the inhospitable region. About 12,000 fishermen resumed work on Jambudwip after Ramaiyya’s speech, Nanda said.

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