Local fishmongers are worried about surviving with their families without being able return to work after the 90-day fishing ban
Local armed criminal gangs of Rangamati hills have ordered fishmongers to stop fishing in Kaptai Lake for failing to pay them off.
As a result, thousands of people, including retail and wholesale fish traders, boatmen, day labourers and fishermen, have been put out of jobs.
Jasim Uddin, leader of Kaptai Fish Traders’ Association, said: “Four armed groups of criminals in the hills had demanded Tk20 lakh from us separately. They gave us until Wednesday to pay them off. As we did not, they ordered our fishermen to stop fishing in Kaptai Lake.”
Fishermen had to refrain from fishing in Kaptai Lake for three months from May to July as per the government-imposed ban to allow the fish population to thrive.
Fishermen Alauddin, Nadir Mia, Tofazzal, Joynal Abedin and many others from Kaptai told this correspondent that all their life they have been fishing and never learned to do much else.
“If we cannot return to fishing after the 90-day fishing ban we fear that we cannot survive with our family,” said Alauddin.
Saying he wasn’t aware of the matter, Kaptai Upazila Nirbahi Officer Muntasir Jahan said he would take necessary action once he receives a complaint.
Similarly, when contacted, Additional Superintendent of Police of (Kaptai Circle) Junaid Kawsar and Kaptai police station Officer-in-Charge Nasir Uddin both also said they weren’t aware of the matter but would definitely take action if they receive complaints.
Meanwhile, Lt Cdr Towhidul Islam, manager of Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation (Rangamati Centre), said: “I am aware of the matter and law enforcement and intelligence agencies are already working on it. Hopefully, this problem will be resolved soon.”