|farmers and fishermen alike
|Farmer Tarun Nayek, who travelled 60km with friend Sukanta Das, with his 3kg katla
|A fisherman and his wife show one of the ruis they caught in Boinchiberia
||A villager casts his net in the irrigation canal in Gourangapur .Pictures by Subha Maity
Tamluk, Oct. 20: Farmer Tarun Nayek rode 60km from his village to Tamluk today, lured by what he loves best — fishing.
Tarun was not alone. Hundreds of people from adjoining areas travelled for hours to the five canals of the irrigation department in Tamluk that are teeming with carp bekti and also prawn.
The inundation in East Midnapore following bounteous October rain and Cyclone Phailin has led to a pleasant outcome. Tonnes of fish in the flooded water bodies in the district have drifted to the five canals leading to the Rupnarayan river.
Water in most of the flooded Tamluk villages has started receding.
More than a thousand people have cast their nets in the canals in the past couple of days. Some have found katlas weighing over 3kg, others have got smaller varieties of carp in their kitty.
Farmer Tarun, who rode from Pingla along with friend Sukanta Das on his bike, also had his bag full.
“I love fishing. It is my favourite hobby. Today, I could not stop myself. I told my friend to accompany me and together we caught a 3kg katla and several ruis,” said Tarun, who sold most of his catch.
The glut in the canals has also brought down prices of fish in the local markets.
In Tamluk, a 3kg katla usually sold for around Rs 300 a kg was today priced between Rs 100 and Rs 120 a kg. Buyers paid Rs 50 to Rs 80 kg for rui that sells for around Rs 150 to Rs 200 a kilo on other days.
“We have earned over Rs 1,000 by selling fish today. We are also carrying home some fish to eat,” said Prasenjit Mondal, a 27-year-old carpenter who travelled about 40km with his cousin to cast his net in one of the Tamluk canals. “The money we earned covered our travel costs.”
According to the assistant director of fisheries in East Midnapore, Surajit Bag, fish from around 6,000 ponds in Tamluk and adjoining Panskura drifted to the canals when the fisheries overflowed following rain brought by the cyclone.
“Nearly 320 tonnes of fish swam out of the fisheries. The fish are all in the five canals and they are flowing into the Rupnarayan river. So, people are making a beeline to catch them,” Bag said.
Asked about the varieties, another official of the district fisheries department said mostly rui, katla, other carp varieties, bekti and even prawn were caught today.
Many villagers from Tamluk today joined the fishing folk near the canals as word spread that fish was being sold cheap.
Anjuman Bibi, 55, took her 10-year-old granddaughter from Gaurangapur village to one of the canals to buy fish.
“We are a labourers’ family and can’t afford fish every day. So, when we heard about katla and rui being sold cheap, I hurried to buy them. We can now eat fish for a few days,” Anjuman said.