The Tamil Nadu Meenavar Peravai has urged the Centre to take measures to safeguard the livelihood of Tamil Nadu fishermen. M. Subburayan, president of the Cuddalore chapter of the Peravai, told The Hindu that the forum’s consultative committee, which met here on Monday, passed a resolution in this regard. It said the Tamil Nadu fishermen were often targeted by Sri Lankan Navy personnel who assaulted them, impounded their boats and destroyed their nets. On many an occasion, their catch too was either taken away or dumped in the sea. These activities threatened the livelihood of the fisher folk, particularly those in the southern districts.

Mr. Subburayan said the fishermen were leading a life of a recluse as they had lost their boats and fishing nets. Therefore, the Centre was duty-bound to create a congenial atmosphere for the fishermen to carry on their trade.

The forum urged the Tamil Nadu government to take measures to deepen the mouth of the Cuddalore port that had been frequently witnessing boat capsize and drowning of fishermen. This is the only waterway through which the fishermen could access the sea. But, of late, the waterway had become shallow because of the accumulation of silt. Fishermen were finding it difficult to safely steer the mechanised boats around the point.

Mr Subburayan also noted that the Cuddalore coastline had become vulnerable to sea erosion. During storms and cyclones, the coastal community was leading a precarious life. Therefore, to protect the fishermen colonies and the fishing vessels, a rubble-mounted seawall should be erected along the entire coastline. He also demanded lighting facilities at the fish landing yard in the Cuddalore port.

He said that for want of a just 50-metre-long bridge across the uppanar at Tsunami Nagar here, the residents of hundreds of tenements had to make a detour of seven km to reach Sonankuppam.

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