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Left-wing groups protest against Dumboor reservoir privatization in Tripura

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BY TC News Desk

Agartala, February 17: Various left-wing organizations staged a protest march and meeting at Gandacherra in Dhalai district on Saturday against the privatization of Dumboor reservoir, the largest water body and fishery resource in Tripura. The protesters demanded that the state government and the Autonomous District Council (ADC) administration revoke the lease agreement with SN Aqua Agro Pvt Ltd, a private company that has taken over about four thousand hectares of land including the reservoir for aquaculture development.

The protest procession started from the party office of the sub-district headquarters in the joint initiative of Fishermen’s Union, Scheduled Castes Coordination Committee and Gana Mukti Parishad (GMP) and ended at the mouth of Durgabari. A protest meeting was held there, which was presided over by Subodh Mallik, leader of the Scheduled Caste Coordination Committee. Other leaders including state leader Sudhan Das, MLA Nayan Sarkar, MLA Sudeep Sarkar, former MLA Lalitmohan Tripura and divisional secretary Dhananjay Tripura were present.

In this meeting, the speakers spoke against the privatization of Dumbur reservoir, which they claimed was a violation of the rights and interests of the local fishers and tribal communities. State leadership and former MLA Sudhan Das while delivering his speech evoked the tragic scenes of the seventies, when many caste-tribal families were forcibly evicted from vast areas including Bulongbasa, Raima for the construction of Dumboor dam in the name of hydropower project. He said that even houses were vandalized by the police with elephants and the displaced people were not adequately compensated or rehabilitated. He said that the poor laboring people chose fishing as their livelihood in the reservoir, which has an average fish productivity of 120 kg/ha/y. He alleged that the state government and ADC administration handed over the entire Dumbur water body to a private company without consulting or informing the stakeholders. He called upon the people of the sub-division to speak out in unity against the privatization of Dumboor reservoir and to protect their natural resources and cultural heritage.

Dumboor reservoir, which covers an area of 3,049 ha, is located in Dhalai and Gomati districts of Tripura, Northeast India. It was created in 1974 by the construction of a dam across the Gomati river for generating hydroelectricity. The reservoir is home to a rich biodiversity of fish and aquatic plants, and supports the livelihoods of about 15,000 fishermen.

They have been carrying out mass agitation against the privatization of Dumbur reservoir in various ways, such as submitting deputations, holding public meetings, and organizing rallies. They have also sought the intervention of the Governor of Tripura and the Chief Executive Member of the ADC to cancel the lease agreement and to restore the reservoir to the public domain.

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