Survival of Majhis at stake

Phidim, January 7

People from the Majhi community, who earned their living trading in fish they netted in the Tamor River in Panchthar and Terhathum districts, are facing a hard time as a large number of fish perished cue to flood caused by heavy rainfall and landslides in several places of Taplejung on June 10.

The survival of the fishing community along the banks of the river is now at stake as they now cannot net the fish as they used to do.

“Earlier, we used to net at least five to 10 kg fish individually in a day during the season, but now, we hardly catch for a single time meal.

Hence, it is very hard to survive with our traditional occupation,” lamented Prakash Majhi of Simle-3, Terhathum.

There are around 150 Majhi households at Pisanighat and Nakkaleghat of Panchthar, Majhitar of Terhathum and Simraghat and Lumughat of Panchthar.

Most of the families depend on fishing. Some of them sold fish-door-to-door and some traded the fis in Phidim of Panchthar and Myanglung bazaar in Terhathum and other adjoining markets.

“The flood swept away the fish along with the livelihood of the Majhi community,” lamented Bir Bahadur Majhi of Majhitar.

They have stacked their fishing nets and baskets after they failed to catchfish in the river, he said.

“As all species of fishes in the Tamor river were swept away, it will take more than three years to recover the population of fish,” said fishermen.

They used to earn their living by ferrying people across the river in their boats but this source of income came to an end after bridges were constructed over the river,” said Jas Bahadur Majhi of Majhitar. “We don’t have any land.

More than half of the harvest has to be shared with the landlord. With the construction of bridges over the river, we stopped boating and we stopped fishing after the flood.

Hence, there is no option for our survival,” lamented fishermen.

As many as 38 people lost their lives, whereas 19 others went missing due to landslides at Santhakra, Thinglabu, Lingtep, Likhim and Liwang VDCs of Panchthar on June 10.