They oppose proposal to shift fishing harbour to Moolakuddu

Representatives of the fishing community are up in arms against the decision of the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) to shift the fishing harbour to Moolakuddu near Bheemunipatnam.

Condemning the indifferent attitude of the VPT officials towards their problems, leaders of three associations threatened to launch severe action, including blocking the main entrance channel to the port, if the VPT management does not invite them for talks in the next few days and settle the matter amicably.

Addressing a joint media conference here on Thursday, Association of Indian Fishery Industries (AIFI) president Y.G.K. Murthy, AP Mechanised Boat Owners’ Welfare Association president P.C. Appa Rao and Dolphin Boat Owners’ Welfare Association president Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy opposed the proposal to shift the fishing harbour and condemned the indifference of the VPT authorities in failing to maintain the fishing harbour in a proper manner.

They said the fishing harbour here was built more than 40 years ago with the funds from the Union Ministry of Agriculture on port land and the maintenance was handed over to the port. However, for the past four to five years, the port authorities were neglecting the fishing harbour and even basic amenities such as sanitation and traffic control in the harbour were being neglected.

Mr. Murthy flayed the port authorities for the proposal to shift the fishing to Moolakuddu even though experts had come out with recommendations against it. The experts of the Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fisheries had clearly stated in their report that Moolakuddu village was not at all suitable for building a fishing harbour.

Dredging would be required all the time to maintain the required draft for the vessels and it would be economically unviable. Mr. Appa Rao said that the proposed harbour at Moolakuddu would turn out to be like Bhavanapadu in Srikakulam district, where the State government built the harbour against the recommendations of experts, and it was now rendered a waste.

Berthing fee

Mr. Satyanarayana Murthy said that the port management was collecting berthing fee from trawlers and mini-trawlers and was even getting levy charges on diesel purchased by the trawlers. The slipway was in a bad shape resulting in frequent damage to the boats. The port authorities were not even bothering to listen to the grievances of the boat operators.

He said that there should be a separate fisheries ministry at the Central and State levels to address the problems of the fishermen community.

More In: Visakhapatnam