Port Management Committee says shops will be removed by Wednesday if not vacated
Leaders of various fishermen associations who met here on Monday have decided not to vacate the 180 fish stalls inside Kasimedu fishing harbour.
The stalls are being relocated to facilitate the widening of the road leading to the Chennai Port Trust’s zero gate, as part of the Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP).
The fishermen have instead suggested that an elevated road be constructed so that the shops are not disturbed.
M.D. Dayalan, president of India Meenavar Sangam said that the land traditionally belonged to the fishing community and not to the port trust.
“Right now our shops are near the shore and it is easy for us to bring fresh catch and immediately place the fish on ice. But the new shops constructed are far away. They are too narrow and if there is a fire, there is only one entry/exit point. Thousands of people frequent our shops,” he said.
“We are being asked to pay Rs. 450 as rent and advance of Rs. 5,000 for these shops. When we have been enjoying larger spaces without any rent, why should we pay for these small shops,” asked S. Sada, one of the leaders.
The fisherfolk have received notices from the Port Management Committee stating that unless they vacate on their own by Tuesday, the shops will be removed on Wednesday.
The associations, Kadalora Makkal Paadhugappu Iyakkam, Indhiya Meenavar Sangam, Then Indhia Meenava Nala Sangam, Indhia Meenavar Peravai, Akila Indhia Meenavar Sangam, Tamil Nadu Meenavar Munnetra Sangam and Akila Indhia Paarambariya Meenavar Sangam, asked that the control of the fishing harbour be taken by the Fisheries Department. Presently control lies with the Chennai Port Trust.
The associations also demanded that the fishing harbour’s mouth be dredged and deepened. The fisherfolk also sought the upgradation of facilities in the harbour to international standards.
Sources in the Fisheries Department said that work to improve the wharf was on.
A total of Rs. 16 crore had been sanctioned to construct auction halls, sanitary complexes, toilet complexes, service rooms and for provision of water facilities.
The project is likely to be completed by June next year.
“Ultimately, the harbour will be taken over by the Fisheries Department. These improvements form the first step in that direction. We also want to involve the fishermen in the upkeep of the fishing harbour,” said an official.