The failure of monsoons and the resultant drought have had its impact on the lives of people dependent on agriculture.
Drought has not spared the fishermen too. With lakes and ponds running dry in Arasikere taluk, fishermen, unable to make ends meet, have opted for the migratory route.
Fishermen in the taluk have been facing several problems, as fish catch in the lakes they were dependent on had dried up. “When there is no water in the lake, where will the fish come from,” asked a fisherman. With more than 250 fishermen in the taluk, migration, they feel, is the only way out for them.
Fishermen were not much affected during the first year of the drought. But, from the past three years, a majority of the lakes in the vicinity have dried up.
There are 36 lakes within Arasikere grama panchayat limits. Lakes with an area of more than 25 acres of area are under the watershed department.
The management of the lakes, however, have been outsourced to private companies. In the year 2010-11, about five lakh fish fry were released into the lakes. But, as monsoon failed miserably in the last year, releasing fish fry was stopped.
Pisciculture was the main occupation of more than 15 villages around Arasikere and was the lifeline for the people living in it. The situation now though is pitiable.
Fishermen have resorted to large scale migration to urban areas. “There has been no benefit to fishermen from the regional fisheries office. The only facilities they provide are fishing nets and bi-cycles,” complained another fisherman.
The woes of contractors who take up fishing in the lakes too are no different. They claim that they are running into losses as fish catch has been the lowest in the past few decades. “At least government should compensate our losses,” said contractors Shivu, Jayappa and Moodlappa.