With oil companies classifying bunks in Pulicat, Ennore and Neelankarai as bulk ones, fisherfolk from these areas are demanding that the companies reclassify these bunks.
Many fisherfolk from these areas are flocking the Kasimedu fishing harbour to tank up on subsidised diesel.
There are around 10 fishing villages in Ennore area and fisherfolk going to Kasimedu to sell their catch, fill diesel there.
“We don’t have any petrol bunks in our area. Even for our two-wheelers, the nearest bunk is Ajax in Tiruvottiyur. Fisherfolk who buy in small quantities go to this bunk to buy diesel,” said Kalaivanan of Nettukuppam.
However, those with FRP catamarans and who use 10 litres of diesel a day prefer to purchase from local bunks as it is cheaper. Gnanasekaran Chettiyar of Arangamkuppam in Pulicat, said as most fisherfolk using FRP catamarans fish in the vicinity of Sriharikota, it was impossible to go to Kasimedu.
“The distance from these points is 50 km so we prefer to purchase from private bunks. But we cannot continue that for long as we would have to spend close to Rs. 2,000 a month. We need a solution,” he said.
Fisherfolk in his area had a dispute with fisheries department officials last week when they were informed the bunk in Pulicat would no longer supply subsidised diesel.
However, according to K. Suresh Kumar, vice president of Tamil Nadu Petroleum Dealers Association, one customer would be given only 2,000 litres of fuel at a time.
Meanwhile, fishermen all along the State’s coast are in a state of agitation due to the classification of some bunks. Almost all the bunks in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts have been classified as bulk consumer bunks.
Sources in the fisheries department said they had informed fisherfolk they would bear the transportation charges if they needed to purchase diesel from nearby bunks.
The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Corporation and Tamil Nadu Fishermen’s Cooperative Federation manage all the bunks meant for fisherfolk in the State. In Cuddalore, the federation plans to take over a private defunct petrol bunk in a day or two.
The State government has insisted that oil companies reverse the classification. “Diesel is given to individual fishermen, who are not bulk buyers.”
There are around 5,000 mechanised boats and 25,000 mechanised catamarans operating across the State.