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Speakers

Filmmaker
Entrepreneur
Journalist
Moderator

Date & Time

Monday Mon, 22 Apr 2024

Location

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

35 mins | Kannada, English with English Subtitles | India

Honnavar, a coastal town mostly famous for pre-wedding shoots and great scenic routes, a community full of men and women connected to fishing, have been coming together to save the nesting grounds of the Schedule one species Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The privatisation plans for the beach would lead to the nesting grounds being ruined thus the death of the next generation of sea turtles in the region. This is a heartwarming story of how humans bond with nature and also come together to protect it.

In 2010, the Karnataka government identified a site for a proposed port alongside an estuary of the Sharavathi River in the town of Honnavar in Uttara Kannada district. Since then, local residents of villages such as Tonka 1 and 2, which are located on this sandspit of land known as Kasarkod have been protesting against the construction of the proposed port. Fisherfolk inhabit these picturesque seaside villages whose beaches are also a crucial Olive Ridley turtle nesting site. The residents and environmentalists state that the port would destroy this crucial turtle nesting site in coastal Karnataka. The annual nesting patterns of the Olive Ridley turtles are closely followed by the local fishing community and a pooja is also conducted when the hatchlings head to the sea.

Locals also contend that the port would destroy their livelihood as it would have an impact on fishing. As it is, the dry fishing industry which used the land now taken over by the port authorities, has already stopped functioning. Another concern cited by environmentalists is that the sandspit of land identified as the site of the proposed port is situated on an unstable piece of land that is prone to erosion which would make it unusable for a port. Activists also claim that the building of a port would also mean the laying of a four-lane road that passes through these villages which are a breach of Coastal Regulation Zone norms. The fisherfolk’s opposition to the port has also led to instances over the past few years when protestors have been arrested by the district authorities. While their protests so far have not been successful, villagers have vowed to continue their battle till all the legal routes have been exhausted.

The screening of the documentary will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker, Vikas Badiger, Sandeep Hegde of the Honnavar Foundation and fisherman, Rajesh Govind Tandel, moderated by journalist, Vikhar Ahmad. A Q&A with the audience will follow.

Speakers

Vikas Badiger

Filmmaker

Vikas Badiger is a documentary filmmaker and screenwriter from Bengaluru, India. He is the founder of Faces of Bengaluru Now (FoB Media Co). His latest film, The Ocean Connection, is about a fishing community in Honnavar and their efforts to protect the Olive Ridley turtles. He started out as a Photographer but now is making documentaries under FoB Docs and Films under South Side.

Sandeep Hegde

Entrepreneur

Sandeep Hegde is an entrepreneur and trustee of the Honnavar Foundation. He set up the trust purely for his love for the town where he was born and his willingness to contribute in the areas of social welfare, environment, and education in the Honnavar region.

Sandeep is a software engineer by education and has worked with several startups over a decade. He was an organizer for Google Developer Group and an angel investor. He believes in sustainable development and even has a heritage property named Areca County near Honnavar. He has been featured in articles in the Wall Street Journal, Rediff.com, Times of India, Indian Express, Deccan Herald, Prajavani, South First, Sakaal Times and many more publications. He proudly states that he is “the most active person from Honnavar on “X” (formerly known as Twitter).”

Rajesh Govind Tandel

Fisherman

Rajesh Govind Tandel is a fisherman who lives in the village of Tonka 1 in Honnavar. He belongs to the Kharvi community whose traditional occupation has been fishing. He is the President of the Konkani Kharvi Samaja in Tonka and is also the President of the Karavali Meenugaarara Karmikara Sangha (Coastal Fishermen Workers’ Union).

Even though he had to abandon his studies early on because of the pressure to earn a livelihood, Tandel has been interested in environmental issues since his childhood. Olive Ridley turtles are venerated among the Kharvi community as the turtle is considered to be one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu. Thus, Tandel and members of the fishing community in his village grew up safeguarding the Olive Ridley turtle nesting sites along the Kasarkod beach. After hatching, they would ensure that hatchlings would safely make their way to the sea. While not trained in any formal manner, his concern and interest for the Olive Ridley turtles has meant that Tandel has become somewhat of an expert on the marine visitors to Tonka 1. In all his activities, Tandel is fully supported by his wife, Rekha.

Vikhar Ahmad Sayeed

Journalist

Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed is an award-winning journalist with Frontline newsmagazine and is based in Bengaluru.