Indian Jurisdiction
Indian Jurisdiction Less


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Nayachar () is an island in the Hooghly River, off Haldia in Purba Medinipur in the Indian state of West Bengal. The island inhabited by few fishermen, has shot into the larger public view as the proposed site of the major chemical hub initiated by the West Bengal Government. The hub was earlier proposed at Nandigram.


The Bengali word char means a strip of sandy land rising out of the bed of a river or the sea above water-level. Naya means new.


In December 1987, then land and land reforms minister Benoy Chowdhury had ordered the island handed over to the fisheries department. The order was carried out in March 1988. Benfish, the official agency of the fisheries department, undertook its development. The island was renamed Meendwip, meaning fish island, but nothing much seems to have happened.

In government files, the island is “uninhabited” although there are around 2,500 people living on the island, mostly as “encroachers”. Seven years ago 13 fishery cooperatives were set up, 315 ponds were dug and many of the 400 families on the island work in these. The rest catch fish on their own, either in the river or in small ditches that fill up with small fish during high tide. The government or fisheries department never gave them any right to the land or ponds. They were only allowed to fish around. Some 200 fishermen arrive every morning on the ferry service, work in the co-operatives and leave...
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