Over 500 fishermen lost their ancestral job access when the Ministry of Land had given lease of one of the largest baors Joydia Baor in Jhenaidah without considering the livelihood of the fishermen and their family members, environment and biodiversity. It the fishermen community people in the Baor area have been passing the time almost without of inadequate bread as they were leading lives catching fish in the Baor for centuries together. For their survival either the fisherman community people better known as Halders started selling their four-fathers’ land or assets, or leaving the country finding no other alternative, said the Baor area people.

Some of the Halders said the area of Joydia Baor was 464.85 acres under Safderpur union of Kotchandpur upazila. It was one of the 10 Baors in the upazila playing role for survival of Halders community. The upazila was widely known for its geographical location during the British period.

Halder Community people Jagabandhu Halder, Prashanta Halder, Kartik Halder, Madhab Halder and others when contacted said they were leading lives catching fish from the baor, while lost their fate when the district administration had given lease of the Baor after April 13 of 2023 when the tenure of the lease among the fishermen community was over.

Centurian Dhananjoy Halder and septuagenarian Manaranjan Halder said when the only means of their earning Baor went under the clutch of newly leased influentials, the family members started going without or least food. Most of them had stopped the education to their children. Even they were not in apposition to go to physicians for want of money. But Joydia and Baluhar baor in Kotchandpur, Kat hgora and Fatehpur Baor in bordering Moheshpur, Marjad Baor in Kaliganj of Jhenaidah Bergobindapur Baor in Chowgachha of Jashore were given lease among the fishermen community under a Wold bank funding since 1979 for fish farming development and expansion.

The fishermen community people were the beneficiaries there. Although the Baors were running in the revenue head of the government since 1986, the ministry of land had extended the contracts for several terms where the department of fisheries (DoF) was receiving 35 percent, 25 for the ministry of land and remaining 40 percent of fish allocated for the fishermen community as per the contracts, they said

When this correspondent had visited the Baor area at Joydia, came to know that thousands of people belong to fishermen Halder Community were preparing to conduct movement against the government decision “Harmful” for them. They said all the waterbodies under the ministry of land in the district went under the clutch of monied-men and influentials leaving the fishermen community in uncertainty for an indefinite time.

It has become a threat to the environment and bio-diversity as the useful water species are under threat now when the ministry was considering the money, not the interest of the fishermen community and environment, they added.

Fishermen community leaders alleged that some of the new lease holders have been manhandling the Halder community women even following a trifling matter. They have been preparing to go for a tougher movement against the government decision of leasing among the business community non-fishermen.

Additional deputy commissioner (ADC), revenue in Jhenaidah Ariful Islam when contacted said the decision of leasing Joydia Baor came from the ministry of land where the local administration had nothing to say. The Baor was given lease maintaining necessary procedures of leasing where the fishermen community leaders or their society did not apply for allocation among them. The authorities had handed over the Baor to the lease holders accordingly, ADC Ariful Islam said.