Assistant Professor, Ponjesly College of Education, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, India.
Maria Lourdhammal Simon, a woman of honour and respect. Her achievements in the Tamilnadu State on her respective department Fisheries are noticeable. Being a sincere minister, her vision was high and tremendous. One of her departments Fisheries had a well-equipped system of process which led for the greatest progress. To enhance the systems in to successful, numerous biological, technological stations had formed and researches had carried out. Research on various problems connected with the conservation, management, development, exploitation and utilization of the marine and inland fisheries resources were continued at these Biological and Technological Stations at Tuticorin, Krusadai Island, Cape Comorin, Ennore, Bhavanisagar and Adyar. Through these Biological and Technological stations, Lourdhammal Simon had formed a strong foundation for the development of fisheries in the state of Tamilnadu. This paper focuses on some Biological Stations which were developed during Lourdhammal Simon’s tenure.
Keywords: lourdhammal simon, fisheries department, biological stations, conservation, management, development, exploitation, utilization.
History is a witness to the subjugation and sufferings of women since the inception of civilizations. With her gentle manners and natural tenderness or lack of physical hardness she has always found herself hidden behind a mist of illusions (Ashapurna Devi 19). During the early period of Indian History, most of the women kept away from politics. In such a situation Maria Lourdhammal was born on September 26, 1911 in a hamlet named Melamanakudi which is situated in Kanyakumari District. When she grew up, her parents had arranged a marriage to her with a person named Alexander Manuel Simon from Colachel. He was a shrewd politician who played a decisive role in the contemporary politics. He was elected to the Travancore Cochin assembly as Tamilnadu Congress candidate from Vilavancode constituency in Kanyakumari district in 1952 election. In 1957, K.Kamaraj, then Chief Minister of Madras State was searching for a woman candidate to contest the General Election from the Congress Political Party. Since Lourdhammal’s husband was a politician, her entry in politics happened very easily. She was elected to the Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly as an Indian National Congress candidate from Colachel Constituency in Kanyakumari District in 1957 election (A Review of the Madras Legislative Assembly 1957-1962 7). The Chief Minister K.Kamaraj had appointed Lourdhammal Simon in his cabinet as the minister for Fisheries and Local Administration. K. Kamaraj’s ministry had very eminent candidates who were earnest and committed to their duty. It’s truth that Lourdhammal Simon was a great and honourable political leader gifted by the God to Tamilnadu politics. Her remarkable attainments in Fisheries department, particularly in Inland fisheries are explained in this article.
Fishing has long been an important source for human nutrition and commercial activity. Although most fishing occurs at sea, in the marine environment, many smaller-scale fisheries rely on inland bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. Most recreational fishing also occurs in inland locations. Inland fishing captures freshwater fish species, such as trout. Some inland fisheries are based upon fish farming, where species are raised in giant tanks or ponds. Inland fisheries must compete with other uses of freshwater in a lake or river. It may be a water supply for the local population. Therefore, sustainable fishing practices need to be encouraged inland as much as in the seas and oceans. By keeping this necessity in her mind, Lourdhammal Simon carried out the following activities in inland fisheries.
It is performed in brackish coastal areas, irrigation reservoirs, canals, natural and man-made ponds, tanks, cages, pens and lagoons. It involves propagating and raising aquatic organisms under human control and manipulating at least one stage in their life cycle before harvesting. The inland fishery resources are one of the richest in the state. Our country is endowed with vast and varied resources. The share of inland fisheries sector which was 29 percent in 1950-51 has gone up over 49 percent in 2001 indicating increasing contributions of the inland sector to the total fish production (Ayyappan and Venkateshwarlu 14).
The inland fishery resources particularly the ponds and tanks constitute 2.36 million hectares in India. Fish farming involves cultivating fish in the controlled environment usually pond and harvesting them when they reach the desired size (Tyler Miller 381). Fish culture in India has a long history. Over centuries the practice of fish culture in natural and manmade ponds had become widespread throughout the Indian continent. Fish culture had developed within agriculture communities to a process of trial and error. Fish culture has several advantages over capture fisheries. It is a technique of stock rising unlike hunting and gathering and therefore is often a more efficient use of time and effort particularly when undertaken on such land areas not well suited for land crop production. Fish are efficient converters of feeds, even of low quality plant materials, waste in to flesh (Singh and Prasad 40).
Inland fishery occupies a prominent place in Indian economy. The main benefits which can be derived from inland fishery development and associated growth can be categorized under seven different heads, viz., (a) nutrition and food supply, (b) sources of income, (c) sources of employment, (d) facilitate investment, (e) controlling mosquitoes and (f) suitable for scientific research and environmental education. A serving of 100 grams of fish every day could meet half the total protein required by the human body. About 90 to 100 percent of fish protein is digestible. Hence fish foods are included in many special diets for people with digestive disorders and convalescent ulcer. The vitamin A content of fish liver B 26, B 12, Biotin and Niacin and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium and iron help the normal growth of human body. The low incidence of tooth decay in some people has been attributed to high consumption of fish (Why Should We Eat Fish 62).
Inland fisheries are of considerable economic significance to the Indian economy. The contribution of inland fishery to total fish production has gone up from 29 percent to 49 percent in recent years, this naturally increase the GDP contribution. The contribution of income from fisheries is relatively higher. As the fish forms a rich source of food, millions of people are engaged in fishing industry and depend on fisheries for their livelihood in various ways. Besides those who directly catch the fish for marketing, there is equally large number of people engaged in subsidiary industries like refrigeration, preservation, and in the manufacture of fish products and by products.
The investment on cold storage, refrigeration, ice plants and development of link roads are helpful for the overall development of the rural particularly the remote areas. Use of fish for controlling mosquitoes is well known from the beginning of this century. Culture and distribution of larvivorous fishes for control of mosquitoes have now attained importance once again due to the recurrence of malaria in our country (Sundara Raj 51).
Being excellent tropical fresh water wetlands rich in biodiversity, the ponds are suitable for scientific research and environmental education. The Institute for Restoration of Natural Environment and the local colleges used the size for field biological research. The other benefits of wetland include direct water supply, flood control, preventing salt water intrusion, maintaining microclimate, retaining plant nutrients, repository of bird life, rare tropical fresh water economic systems and ponds help raise ground water level.
Similarly Marine Fisheries, Inland Fisheries also given importance by the Fisheries department. For the development of department the Minister Lourdhammal Simon had taken charge in all the administrative process. Like Marine fisheries, Inland fisheries also a profitable ground. Keeping the improvement of her department in her mind, Lourdhammal Simon introduced many schemes and steps for the Inland fisheries. The notable features of Inland fisheries were: introducing of license in all the divisions of the state, provincialized waters in all the divisions, departmental waters, rural fishery demonstration units in all the districts, operations at reservoirs, maintenance of fish farms, and implementation of the National Extension Service Schemes for the fisheries development in all the districts. The license system obviously promoted the fishing to attain higher level in economic. These above features had built a strong foundation for the Inland fisheries development throughout the state during the period of Lourdhammal Simon 1957-62.
For the proper conservation of the inland fisheries, the licensing system was continued and extended during the whole years of Lourdhammal Simon’s service. This system enabled the fishermen to obtain a constant and steady earning in fishing. Hope Lake, Kadamba tank, Mettur Reservoir, Poondi Reservoir, Vellore moat, Veeranam Lake, Vadavur channel, Vellar estuary, Adyar estuary, Kolavory Lake, Kodaikanal Lake, Amaravathi Reservoir etc were the main inland fisheries promoting stations which were functioned (Madras State Administration Report, 1957-58 130) extremely well in the service periods of Lourdhammal Simon 1957-62 by her greater supervision. These important inland fisheries stations continued to be conserved and licensed with a view to maintain a steady fish crop without any depletion. These stations received the licenses throughout five years without any fall short.
Though, during 1957-58 about 4,000 licenses were issued to the all above stations for controlled and regulated fishing (Madras State Administration Report, 1957-58 130). During 1958-59, the unauthorized production of saars (fixed engines) was prevented in the innumerable channels in the Cauvery delta by the effective supervision by the Fisheries department. A total number of 9,210 licenses were issued during the year 1959-60 for fishing in inland waters under departmental control and Rs. 38,937.87. nP was realized as license fees. In the year 1960-61, 9,383 licenses were issued and a profit was sum of Rs.49,672.24. And in 1961-62, a total number of 10,247 licenses were issued for fishing in various water pieces in the State and a sum of Rs.49,424.33 was realized as revenue (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 54).
The Rural Fishery Demonstration Units continued to work and promoted private fish culture in all the units by the orders of Lourdhammal Simon. Certain Officers of the Department were deputed for receiving special training in the organization of fishery training centres, they were: in-shore and off-shore fishing, technique of trout hatchery operations, induced spawning, boat designing and construction and use of improved fishing gear. As the Minister Lourdhammal Simon directed the Director to ensure whether full advantage was derived from the specialized training of these officers or not. These centres had maintained and developed financial growth gradually. These financial growths were almost very supportive and useful for the Fisheries Department in all the ways. Inland fisheries units which were functioned throughout the years 1957-62, issued the licensed as listed below:
During the year 1959-60, 2,496 licenses were issued for fishing here and a sum of Rs. 1,678.87, was realized (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 56). Then during 1960-61, 2,276 licenses were issued for fishing in this river and a sum of Rs.1,342.40 was realized (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 50) as revenue and during 1961-62, 2,562 licenses were issued for fishing and this time a sum of Rs.1,583.10 nP. was realized as revenue (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 54).
The Assistant Fishery Demonstrator, Upper Dam controlled the licensing scheme in the Hope Lake throughout the years 1959-62. Departmental fishing was also conducted in the lake regularly during the year 1959-60, besides stocking the water with good varieties of fishes was further developed its fishery. A total number of 66 licenses were issued for fishing in the lake and Rs.519 was realized towards licenses fees as against 111 licenses issued and Rs.202.60 realized during 1958 – 59. The departmental units landed a total quantity of 4,132 ¼ lb. of fish from the lake and a sum of Rs.1223.80 was realized as sale proceeds in this year (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60, 57). During the year 1960-61, Fifty eight licenses were issued and a sum of Rs.511.00 was realized as revenue. Then in the year 1961-62, 74 licenses were issued for fishing in the lake and a sum of Rs.343 was realized as revenue (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 56).
The fishing in the Kadamba tank under a licensing system originally sanctioned in 1947 (G.O. Ms. No.4114, Rural Development and Local Administration) and it was continued during the year 1959-60. A total number of 412 licenses was issued and a sum of Rs.1,557 was realized. The Departmental fishing was conducted in this tank was by using Nachu valai, Rangoon nets, cast nets and hooks. A total quantity of 2,483 lb. of fish was caught and sold for Rs.898.37 by the department in this year (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 57).
In the year 1960-61, the Inspector of Fisheries, Srivaikuntam, supervised and controlled the issue of licenses in Kadamba tank by the orders of Lourdhammal Simon. The next year 638 licenses were issued and a sum of Rs.1,938.00 was realized by the department (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61, 52). In the year 1961-62 the same Officer was in-charge of the tank. The rates of license fees were enhanced by Lourdhammal Simon in 1961 and this came into force from 8th January 1962. (G.O.Ms.No.3823, Food and Agriculture Department) During 1961-62, 464 licenses were issued for fishing from that tank. A sum of Rs.1,399.50 was realized as revenue (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 56). And the fall in license fees was due to the draining of water from the tank for repairs to the bunds by the Public Works Department.
In the Ramanathapuram district coast, particularly in the Palk Bay area a peculiar method of sea fishing was followed in the year 1959-60. The method was by using trees and bushes for fishing. And it was controlled by the department by way of licensing as per Notification No. 164, dated 18th April 1916, and amendments thereon. There was no special staff for controlling and issuing the licenses and the work was attended by the Inspector of Fisheries, Pamban, and Chank Fishery Overseer, Karangadu. A sum of Rs.2 had been collected for each tree and a sum of Rs.1 for each bush per annum as license fees. During the year a sum of Rs.100 was realized as license fees.
In the year 1960-61, the same method of fishing was continued. Patrolling and the issue of licenses were attended by the Inspector of Fisheries, Sivaganga, Inspector of Fisheries, Pamban and the Chank Fishery Overseer, Karangadu (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 52). Same fees in the previous year Rs.2 and Rs.1 was collected for each tree and bush.
During the year 1959-60, 413 licenses were issued and license fees amounting to Rs.572 was realized as against 234 licences and Rs. 221 of the last year (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 58). During 1960-61, 326 licenses were issued for fishing in the lake and a sum of Rs.345.00 was realized (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 50) as revenue and during 1961-62, 273 licenses were issued for fishing, a sum of Rs.360 was realized as revenue (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 54).
This Fort Moat was being utilized by the State Fisheries Department since 1919. The primary objects were 1) rearing of suitable mosquito larvicidal fishes to prevent breeding of mosquitoes and 2) production of table fishes for supply to the inhabitants of the town. Both of these objectives achieved successfully in the total five years. This moat was under the full control of Fisheries Department. A total number of 114 licences were issued for fishing in the fort moat and a sum of Rs.109 was collected as license fees in the year 1959-60. In the year 1960-61, sixty seven licenses were issued and a sum of Rs.69.00 was collected and a sum of Rs.1,900 was realized as a revenue. Next, during 1961-62, 806 licenses were issued for fishing from the Fort Moat and a sum of Rs.657-60 nP. (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 57) was realized as revenue against 67 licenses and Rs.69 during 1960-61. (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 52).
During the year 1959-60, intensive patrolling was carried out by the departmental staff to enforce the conservancy measures in the lake and, licenses for fishing were issued. Thousand six hundred and forty seven licenses were issued and Rs.8365 was realized (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 58) against 1319 licenses and Rs.10220 during 1958-59. In the year 1960-61, one thousand seven hundred and seventy five licenses were issued realizing a sum of Rs.9,887.00 (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 52). Next, during 1961-62, 1,643 licenses were issued for fishing in this lake and a sum of Rs.10,623 was realized as revenue to the department.
The conservancy and licensing in the Vadavar was controlled as in the previous years. During the year 1959-60, 416 licenses were issued for Rs.1583 as against 472 licenses and Rs.1,916 during the previous year (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 59). Four hundred and eighty licenses were issued and realizing a sum of Rs.2,140.00 during 1960-61. Then during 1961-62, 612 licenses were issued for fishing and a sum of Rs.2,255 was realized as revenue as against 488 licenses and Rs.2,140 during 1960-61 (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 53).
The conservancy and licensing system in the Vellar estuary at Porto Novo was on forced during the year 1958-59, 1.043 licenses were issued and it continued in all the years. A total number of 113 licenses were issued and a sum of Rs.974 was realised. In the year 1960-61, seven hundred and ninety-four licenses were issued a sum of Rs.628.50 was realised (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 53). And also during 1961-62, 58 licenses were issued for fishing this river and a sum of Rs.63,50 was realized as profit (Madras State Administration Report, 1961-62 58).
The Ullar by-pass in the Grand anicut was closed for fishing during June and October 1959 by Lourdhammal Simon and the breeders were protected with special staff during her service period (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 59).
Unauthorised erection of saars (fixed engines) in the innumerable channels of Thanjavur delta was prevented by periodic inspections and check by the department in the year 1959-60. And in the year 1961-62, the entire length of Ullar River of Cauvery below the Grand Anicut and the portion of the Coleroon River up to Upper Ancient above and one mile below the confluence of Colercou River with the Ullar River had been conserved by the department (G.O.Ms.No.3927, Food and Agriculture Department).
The development and exploitation of the fisheries of the Mettur Reservoir in Salem district continued systematically throughout the five years. In the year 1957-58 a total number of 203 licenses were issued to the fishermen and anglers and realized a revenue of Rs.3,616.40. The total quantity of fish landed from the reservoir by the licensed fishermen and the departmental experimental unit was 340 tons in the year 1957-58.
The Mettur Reservoir was exploited and the total landings amounted to 504 metric tons and per capital consumption of fish in the State had increased from 11.4 lb. to 11.7 lb. during the year of 1958-59. In the year 1959-60, licenses for fishing in this reservoir were issued at the rate of Rs.72 per annum as orders proposed by Lourdhammal Simon (G.O. Ms. No.1858, Food and Agriculture Department) and a sum of Rs.17,827 was realized as license fees. And this year 269 licenses were issued which included the license for fishing with Coracle and nets, angling with English and Country rods for fishing with shore nets (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 60). During the year 1960-61, licenses for fishing in this Reservoir were issued at the rate of Rs.72 per license, per year (G.O Ms.No.1156, Food and Agriculture Department). From 1st October 1960, the license fee per year was increased to Rs.100 by the order of Lourdhammal Simon (G.O. Ms.No.3257, Food and Agriculture Department). Though during that year, 271 licenses were issued and a sum of Rs.22,382.49 nP. was realized as license fees as against 259 licenses and Rs.17,827 of the previous year 1959-60. As in the previous period it also included the licenses for fishing with coracles and nets, angling with rod and line and for fishing with shore nets (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 51).
In the year of 1961-62 also licenses for fishing were issued. The Department unit with two fishermen continued to work for experimental purpose. For a Coracle with Rangoon nets and books were also issued at the rate of Rs.100 per license, per year. In this year, 275 licenses were issued by Lourdhammal Simon and a sum of 25,236.50 was realized as license fees as against 271 licenses and Rs.22,382.49 during 1960-61. In this also fishing was included the licenses for fishing with coracle and nets, angling with rod and line and fishing with shore nets as in the previous years. During 1961-62, 1,899.5 kilograms of fish was caught and sold for Rs.1,691.62 by the department unit. Besides, the reservoir continued to be maintained by the licensed fishermen. The Mettur Fishermen Co-operative Marketing Society, procured the fishes caught by the licensees at 70 nP. Per kilogram and sold to the fish merchant at 80 nP. per kilogram. The fish merchant in turn marketed the fish in Madras, Kerala, Andhra, Mysore and West Bengal States. During 1961-62, 357.748 metric tons of fish was procured and sold by the department.
In the year 1959-60, a total number of 32 licenses were issued for angling in the lake and a sum of Rs 16.00 was released as licenses fees during the year (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 60). In 1960-61, five licenses were issued (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 51) and a sum of Rs.2.50 was realized as license fees as against 32 licenses and Rs.16.00 during 1959-60. During 1961-62, 117 Rod and Line licenses were issued for fishing and a sum of Rs.58.50 nP was realized as revenue as against two licenses and Rs.16 during 1960-61. During 1961-62, this lake was stocked with 5,894 fish seeds. 222 kilograms of fish caught and sold for Rs.245.42. The fall in the issue of license was arisen in this centre due to frequent unfavorable weather conditions in 1960-62.
As per the orders of Lourdhammal Simon, licenses were issued by the Inspector of Fisheries, Ooty, in the year 1959-60 for fishing in the Ooty Lake, Wellington Lake, Moyar River, Bhavani River and their tributaries. During this year a sum of Rs. 269.60 was realized by way of licenses against Rs.344.50 realized last year. The short fall was due to frequent rains and unfavorable weather conditions from June to November 1959 (Madras State Administration Report, 1959-60 60).
In the year 1960-61, fishing in Ooty Lake, Wellington Lake, Moyar River, Bhavani River and their tributaries was regulated by issue of licenses. During 1960-61, 73 monthly and 70 daily licenses were issued and a sum of Rs.356.50 was realized by the government. The system continued in 1961-62 also. In the year 708 licenses for fishing with Rod and Line were issued and a sum of Rs.1,888.50 nP. was realized by the department.
The Inspector of Fisheries, Amaravathinagar, controled the conservancy operations in the Amaravathy River and Reservoir throughout the years 19561-62 by the orders of Minister Lourdhammal Simon. Regular patrolling was conducted along the river course and six cases of illicit fishing were detected in the year 1959-60. The station was provided with 15 feet boat, fitted with a 7.5 h.p. evinrude out Board motor by the department (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 51).
A large scale exploitation of the Poondi reservoir in Chingleput district was started during the year 1957-58 and a total quantity of 152.6 tons of fish and 65.7 tons seeds were given to the fishermen who operated in the reservoir as their share. The revenue realized for the Government share of the catches was Rs.29,763 in the year 1957-58 and the operation was continued effectively (Madras State Administration Report, 1957-58 131). During 1960 – 61, 2,327 licenses were issued for fishing in this Reservoir and a sum of Rs.9,535.25 was realized as revenue (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 51). In 1961- 62, 2,192 licenses were issued for fishing and a sum of Rs.5,079.75 nP. was realized as revenue as against 2,327 licenses and Rs.9,535.25 nP. during 1960 -61.
Throughout the year 1960-61, 130 daily licenses, 110 monthly licenses and five annual licenses were issued for angling in the lake. A sum of Rs.526.60 nP was collected as license fees and a sum of Rs.2 was also collected by hiring rod and line to angling licenses (Madras State Administration Report, 1960-61 52). During 1961-62, 443 licenses were issued for angling in this lake. A sum of Rs.578 was collected as license fees as against 263 licenses and Rs.526.60 nP. during 1960-61 and a sum of Rs.18 was realized as hire charges for Rod and Line supplied by the department.
The top waters of Bhavani and Moyar River were conserved throughout the period 1957-62 by the department. Fishing was controlled by issue of licenses. During 1961-62, 480 licenses were issued and a sum of Rs.644.50 was realized as revenue.
Hence, from the above attempts it is vividly explained that, Lourdhammal Simon had put forth her scrutinised planning for a better improvement in the inland fisheries. She perfectly executed her thoughts and plans to enhance the condition of fisheries department in a profitable way in her five years tenure. The system had been executed in maximum districts, wherein the financial growth of people as well as State. Through these innovative methods the State government had bumped into en number of benefits. Her magnitude was extended in the entire country. Lourdhammal Simon’s effective administration and intellectual attempts in inland fisheries were reflected in inland fisheries’ notable features such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers, etc and their profitable turn over. Her fame as well as achievements have been glorified by the people of Tamilnadu till this time.
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