Since time immemorial, tigers have killed hundreds of fisherfolk and honey collectors who roam the forests of Sundarbans for a living. While hunting for fish and crabs, fisherfolk often wander into government protected areas for tigers, also known as the core area. No human entry or activity is permitted in these areas. Yet, fisherfolk continue to frequent these areas – for them it is less about daring and more about earning a livelihood in order to feed their families. When a fisherfolk or honey collector is killed by a tiger, government authorities usually refuse compensation to families, asking instead why the person was in the protected area to begin with. What follows is a cycle of trauma, deprivation and stigma for the families.
In this episode, Urvashi Sarkar, reports if human-wildlife confrontation has increased in recent times and the reasons for it. This episode looks at the close link between the government’s failure to create employment in Sundarbans and the desperation which drives generations of families to the forests for a livelihood. For this Urvashi speaks to Pradeep Chatterjee, convenor of the national platform for small-scale fish workers, and Pushpa Mondal’s husband Arjun Mondal, who was a fisherman.