The State Government will order an inquiry into the alleged denial of permission by the New Mangalore Port Trust authorities for fishing boats to enter the port area on September 13 and 15, said Minister for Ports and Inland Water Transport J. Krishna Palemar.

Mr. Palemar told presspersons here on Saturday that the conduct of the NMPT authorities was unpardonable. “They should be held responsible for all the damage that has occurred because of the denial. The State Government will take a tough action on such a conduct. A case needs to be registered against the NMPT authorities,” Mr. Palemar said.

Earlier, addressing the fishermen Mr. Palemar said diligence on the part of NMPT authorities could have avoided damage of Ocean Fisheries-2 boat, whose inmates are missing since Thursday. Questioning the NMPT's restrictions in the name of security, Mr. Palemar said, “Does it mean terrorists would only enter the port area and through ports controlled by us. We are concerned about national security. But such restrictions should not be at the cost of the lives of fishermen,” he said.

Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly N. Yogish Bhat said an official order will be issued by the State Government asking the NMPT personnel to permit fishing boats in distress into the port. The NMPT personnel should first bring the distressed fishermen to the shore and then carry out their checks, he said.

Mr. Bhat said the work on the long pending demand of fishermen to widen the fishing harbour will be taken up in a few weeks. Final tendering process for widening the harbour at the cost of Rs. 57 crore began two days ago. The State Government was also taking up dredging work at the bar-mouth and also at Kandatpalli.

Dredging

Mr. Palemar said the State Government was working towards a permanent solution for dredging. The Government will have dredging machines at each of the 10 State-controlled ports, including the one in Mangalore.

Mr. Palemar also announced payment of Rs. 1 lakh each as compensation to the family members of six persons who were in the boat that was damaged in the sea on September 15. The Government will also pay Rs. 25,000 each to the five persons injured in purse-seine boat that met with an accident on September 13.

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