Kamaiyas fish in lucrative waters

Bardiya, September 30 :

The government has made no permanent arrangement for shelter or livelihood of

freed Kamaiyas of Machhagadh camp at Deudakala-3, but these freed bonded labourers have taken matters in their hands and risen to the occasion by engaging in fish-farming.

The income generated from two fishponds at their camp is spent on emergency expenditure of freed Kamaiyas of the camp. There are altogether 116 freed Kamaiya families in the camp.

Each family of the freed Kamaiyas, living 35 km west of Kohalpur, was given 3 katthas of land by the government. “We started fish-farming in two ponds, as the land provided by the government was not enough to sustain us,” ex-Kamaiya Khusi Ram Tharu said. The two ponds have been given to ex-kamaiyas Kaman Singh Tharu and Ram Bahadur Tharu on contract.

The Kamaiyas don’t divide the income generated from the ponds among themselves. They have instead set up a fund. “The income from the ponds is used for meeting expenses of those ex-Kamaiyas who fall ill, or to start a new business or some other emergency expense,” ex-kamaiya Devi Ram Tharu said. He added that four groups have been formed to look after the transactions of the income generated from the ponds.

The money is provided to the freed Kamaiyas as loan at 2 per cent annual interest, Devi Ram Tharu said. Kaman Singh Tharu has opened up a grocery store with money he took as loan from the income from the fishponds. The fishponds were constructed by GTZ.