Hunger pangs can drive people to take life risks and a case in point is fishing by Bengali community women in crocodile-infested Mahanadi and Gobari rivers here. According to sources, many women of this community in Jambu, Kanshphal, Ramnagar, Petchhela, Badadandua, Bagagahan, Pankapal, Badapal, Kandra Patia, Kharinasi, Batighara, Tantiapal and Sasan areas under this block in Kendrapara district are prime examples of taking such risks to catch prawn spawns of Bagda variety to earn a living.
They catch the spawns which are of the size of a pin and sell them to traders at a throwaway price of `200 per 1,000 spawns. These traders then transport the product to the fish hatcheries in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh for a premium. The women enter rivers and water bodies when tides begin to ebb and catch the spawns with the help of a thin fishing net known as ‘Ganja net’.
Their dare devilry in crocodile-infested river helps them earn around `500 each.
These water bodies which flow to the brim are home to ferocious crocodiles but they brave the odds to feed their families. “Lack of proper employment opportunities, poor earning by male members and lack of awareness force us to adopt such risky means,” said Lata Mandal, Mamata Sardar, Radharani Mandal, Sarojini Mandal and Rama Gayan of the area.