Their livelihood is under strain as tanks are polluted in the city

Members of the K-1629 Coimbatore Vatta Meenavar Sangam (fishermen’s cooperative society) on Monday petitioned the Collector seeking a probe into the irregularities in the society.

In their petition, the members said that the special officer in-charge of fishermen’s societies hardly paid any attention to the society’s activities and that troubled them. Recently, he had called for a special general body meeting through a not-so-widely circulated Tamil daily in an effort to keep the news under wraps. The announcement, published on August 29, 2012, said that the meeting would be held on September 18 at 11 a.m. at a wedding hall in Podanur.

Fifth item on the agenda was inclusion of new members. Given the circumstances, the fishermen said that they had learnt that a clandestine membership drive was on. It was unlawful because as per various court rulings, membership drive within 30 days of the conduct of such meetings was not permitted and that the list of members with voting rights should be kept open for scrutiny.

A good number of members from the community, who were traditional fishermen, struggled to access membership forms and managed to get 10 or a little more after running from pillar to post. Many persons, who were in no way connected to fishing, managed to get the forms and also apply.

Likewise, the special officer initiated a number of decisions keeping the members out of the loop. They feared that the proposed September 18 exercise would be a farce and was being conducted only to recruit people.

The Collector should look into the issue and protect their livelihood, which had already come under strain because of pollution in tanks in the city. They were hereditary fishermen with traditional rights to fish in the tanks. They paid Kist to the Government and abided all the necessary laws, they added.

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