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Middle classes finding it difficult to afford fishing in Coronavirus-hit India


Anglers in India are up in arms following a huge increase in the cost of a day fishing licence in Rawalpindi and Islamabad which they say has made it difficult for the middle classes to afford the only leisure sport allowed in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The licence fee has more than tripled from 300 rupees (US$4/UK£3) to 1,000 rupees (US$13/UK£10). Saqib Aftab, an angler who regularly fishes the Rawal Dam, has urged the Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (pictured), to take notice of the hike and reduce the fee to make the facility and sport equally accessible to all. He said: “This pandemic is the first of its kind and has totally changed our lives. Activities like fishing are an opportunity for us to escape the trauma and fear that the virus instills in the population.”

He added that the Rawal Dam is the only facility for federal capital residents as there is no other venue within close proximity to the metropolis.”

The licence fee increase came into force late last year following a decision by the Minister of Interior. However, after hearing the concerns and reservations of anglers it was reduced back to 300 rupees for a short while before being restored to 1,000 rupees.

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