‘Karnataka Cooperative Fisheries Federation has not taken any steps for safety of fishermen’

Deputy Commissioner V. Anbukkumar has written to the Principal Secretary of Fisheries Department recommending an inquiry by the department into fishing activities in the Hemavati backwaters in the district.

Three fishermen drowned on Thursday after they ventured into the backwaters of the Hemavati reservoir without lifejackets.

Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday, he said the Karnataka Cooperative Fisheries Federation had obtained the lease to catch fish in the reservoir.

However, the organisation had not taken measures for safety of fishermen. “The fishermen require training, lifejackets and insurance. However, fishing is going on without any of these things. I have reported the matter to the Principal Secretary,” he said.

Mr. Anbukkumar said the Fisheries Department would provide Rs. 50,000 each to the families of the deceased. He said the officers had tried to contact the representatives of the federation, but there was no response from them. “If the fishermen had insurance, the families would have got the amount. The federation has not taken care of the safety of the fishermen. We are exploring all options to ensure safe fishing activities in the reservoir,” he said.

Seized rice

Responding to a question on the 300 quintals of rice that was seized from a rice mill in the city, the Deputy Commissioner said samples of the seized rice had been sent to labs to verify if it was rice meant for distribution under the Anna Bhagya scheme.

“A criminal case has been registered by the police. The district administration will also inquire to find out the source of the rice. We have already sealed the rice mill,” he said.

Bonded labour

When the issue of bonded labour and illegal mining at Shivayyanakoplu in Hassan taluk was brought to his notice, Mr. Anbukkumar said that the practice of bonded labour could be confirmed only after an inquiry.

“However, we will take stern action to stop illegal mining in the village. I will direct the Assistant Commissioner to look into it,” he said.

It may be recalled here that The Hindu had reported about 27 people working as bonded labourers in the hills of Malladevarapura in Hassan taluk.

More In: Karnataka | National