The Palesse people are struggling against the transfer of the Chervonaye Lake to the Prypiatski National Park.
The third largest lake in Belarus - Chyrvonaye Lake in the Zhytkavichy district - is a favorite place not only of local residents. People from different parts of the country come here - in summer, there is no spare place on the coast, the Palesse people tell kp.by. For them, Chyrvonaye Lake means not only rest, but also food. Therefore, the news that the Prypiatski National Park intends to lease the lake shocked and angered the residents of the area.
- They mainly hunt for ducks in Chyrvonaye Lake. In the recent years, tenants of the hunting grounds of the lake are the local forestry and the National Park. The forestry has occupied two thirds so far. And if a one-time hunting permit is BYN 20 in the National Park, then in the forestry its BYN 6. But even so, it is almost impossible for local people to take a ticket from the National Park - all of them go to the officials from Minsk, and foreigners. There were long disputes, and in the end it was decided that there would be one owner - the National Park. And local hunters are afraid that then they will not be able to get the hunting tickets at all. We are promised that they will sell them, but why haven't they sold them all these years? - hunter Aliaksandr says.
The tenant of the lake’s fishing grounds now is Zhytkavichykhimservice OJSC. It is assumed that recreational fishing will also fully go to the National Park, despite the fact that recently the chemical service signed a lease agreement for a period of 10 years.
The people got a draft decree of Lukashenka on the transfer of the Chyrvonaye Lake to the National Park. The document states that the site includes an area of three kilometers from the coastline.
- This means that there will be no access to the lake, and we will have to make a circle of one hundred kilometers to get here. Again, it’s easy to take a hunting ticket in the forestry: come to the local rangers, the hunter continues.
And after the transfer of the lake to the National Park, people will have to travel 45 kilometers to the village of Liaskavichy in the neighboring Petrykau district, where the administration of the National Park and one of the residences of Lukashenka are located.
On Monday, local fishermen and hunters organized a spontaneous gathering on the lake coast, which was attended by the journalists. Ordinary men stood in the same circle with the heads of district services, "deputies" of local "councils" and told why Chyrvonaye Lake should not be leased to the National Park.
- They are taking away our lake. It's like a raider capture in the 90s! Why escalate the situation, create tension with the people? Our life is already hard, the villagers resent. - We already know how the National Park takes the territory for rent. They took Prypiats, other lakes, forests. Where we and our ancestors gathered mushrooms, berries, fished, they put barriers, high fences and signs "Passage is prohibited."
People want the tenants to remain the same. Otherwise, this may be the last straw for the beginning of a popular protest against the actions of the leadership of the National Park.
National Park: "We will not charge for fishing"
The Homel regional executive committee responded promptly to the meeting of the residents of the region with correspondents of the non-state press. The next day, the press-center provided a comment by Stsiapan Bambiza, the general director of the Prypiatski National Park:
- The main task of the National Park is to preserve a unique piece of nature and give an opportunity to the people, both locals and tourists, to get the full range of so-called rural recreation. We have for this not only a picturesque nature, but also an excellent material base. Therefore, today everything that is being done to expand the land is exclusively in the interests of nature conservation for the people. There can be no talk about fences. This is an absurd assumption. The national park refuses to organize paid amateur fishing on the lake. Both amateur and commercial fishing will be carried out without interference from the National Park. In addition, we plan to reduce the cost of hunting permits for the local population on the transferred land.
Khimservis: "We have invested money into the lake"
- We do not have any papers yet. They don’t call us anywhere in the executive committee, they don’t say anything, so for now it’s difficult to comment on something. We have a ten year lease. We have invested money into the lake, so, like any enterprise, we are interested in continuing to work under the contract, - said Ihar Halavach, the director of the Zhytkavichykhimservice OJSC.
Forestry: "We try to keep low prices"
Aliaksandr Alvinski, head of the tourism, hunting and fishing department of the Zhytkavichy forestry, stresses: the leadership’s position is to keep the lake in lease by the forestry.
- If we organize hunting for foreigners, we find understanding with local hunters. Our pricing policy is to try to keep prices low, taking into account the financial situation of the local population. We have had no violations, we work within the law.