Agree with you totally on the counts of a river being free for anglers and keeping away the lease monster. Look what's happened to the Ramganga outside Corbett.... and the rape that occurs below Bhikyasein with electrocution, poison and nets. Ever seen the looplines there after the rains are over? Ever tried stopping it? I tried- and was very lucky to have gotten away without grievious harm even after using very careful words.
I have to agree, though very reluctantly, that the fishing in the beats is actually better than what it used to be before the leases stepped in. The fishing is expensive, but it's there. I remember fishing below Baluli village in '02 with the missus and a whole bunch of locals landed up, pushed us aside and chucked in 3 sticks of dynamite. 3 fish came out, two carp and a small mahseer. That doesn't happen anymore.
But yes, I believe in a free anglers' river and a free boaters river.
Also agree on all counts of cleaning the rivers and providing every family with a 3000 per month job.
Who's going to do it? The Govt.? Other anglers who never go there? If the Govt could, they would. The best thing they could to to boost revenue was grant a contract for mining the confluence- there's a crusher in operation right at the confluence. I can't do anything about it because the contract was granted by the DFO and the contractor who owns it is someone I don't want to tangle with.
The SSB? Oh by the way, heres a pic of two SSB wallahs poaching right off the steps of the Pancheshwar temple:
These two, from the battalion posted two years ago (they rotate every 6 months and there's always a shikari among them) had terrorised the locals into fishing off the steps and longline around the temple. Released a 32lb mahseer on a longline that was about to reach their kitchens. We got in and spoke to the commandant, who very reluctantly transferred them. And I have footage of more SSB types changing out of uniform and lobbing grenades into the Kali, close to Khet. I also have footage of cops from Lohaghat landing up with dynamite and have taped conversations of them trying to coerce the locals into doing it for them.
Later on, we got on with all SSB commandants (some of them good people), bought permits, took them fishing and converted them. The current crop of SSB is beginning to see the light, especially after we get them a standing order from the DM. 166 sticks of dynamite confiscated by us and disposed by them. Got footage of that, too.
It's all coming together.
Strange- you go to the SSB, DFO or townie anglers as a local, speak in a villager accent and you get a totally different response. Go as a Sahib and they're the only people who do anything about the state of affairs.
Back to providing villagers with livelihoods rather than turning them into watchers and servants. Are they really qualified to do anything better? Their children, after education, may be, but the it's a sad fact that current crop of villagers can't do much, really, because they don't have the money to educate them properly and someone's got to labour at 60 a day to feed mom, dad, brothers, wife and four brats. Those who are qualified to do better are already doing so- in towns, because village life doesn't get them more than Rs 60 a day labour wage and everything that they grow feeds just their families.
Planting trees and watching them grow doesn't get anyone any money. Why should they? They're not getting any carbon credits. Even if they apply for it, the govt. will tax them.
Heard of the 'Home Stay' plan started by the Eco-Tourism Dept.?
They give 'grants' to villagers for setting aside a room and building toilets, etc. for guests. And they're charged 30% on every occupancy of a 300 rupee rent.
Ah, I'm sure you've been supporting several families somewhere- I started running out of money after doing it for 4 families in Pancheshwar, who are now called by many foul names by all and sundry because the others aren't getting any of the lolly.
Me- I've turned them into top class birders, fish handlers and eco-friendly campers and taught them to converse in reasonable english. They agree their children will have a better future from the dosh they're making right now, even if it's a five month season of one party each month.
The rest of them aren't interested unless they're getting what the contractor charges.
I'm going to pull out soon, because someone's sold land to the KMVN and another party is building a resort. There's a road being built all the way up the Sarju from Pancheshwar to Ghat, and another one up the Kali from Tanakpur to Jauljibi. Read massive hillside cutting, landslips, siltation, dynamite........ nets, resorts, thieving servants, no checks..........
Meatwallas from Tanakpur- they're still in operation, mate! Maikulal, Dayaram, et al all around and fattening! The SSB buys fish from them.
And whot do you propose for the meatwallas from Nepal? Dhan singh, Udi Ram, Gobind Rai, Kailash Ram..........
We don't need a lease.
But if it's the only way to look after a river, so be it.
It should go to an association (because individuals can be steamrolled easily) with the right motives which look after the anglers as well as those that the anglers depend upon- the locals (I'm an angler first and last, conservationist, twitcher, and everything else in between).
You're dead right about locals seeing through the bullshit, which is why they understand the principles of conservation for sportfishing completely, but you have to have the dosh to back it up. I can't because I'm not an association. Also, I don't want to bear the onus of being the one in the steamroller's path- honestly, I'm a very small man who can only do so much without endangering myself- got a family to look after, and that includes my 'boys'.
And I'll go to the bar after I think I've done something worth celebrating.