The Ocean Information System, erected at the Puducherry fishing harbour by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), in association with Pondicherry Multipurpose Social Service Society (PMSSS), has remained damaged for the last several months, denying the fishing community valuable information about the sea conditions on a real-time basis.

According to the officers at the PMSSS, the tower, installed in 2007 to provide data such as wind speed, wave heights and other sea related information, was damaged in the cyclone that hit the coast in late 2009.

While the society sought to replace the tower with the help of engineers from INCOIS, the officers said that some in the fishing community opposed the move citing several reasons.

After the society failed to convince the fisherfolk, the matter was taken to the Fisheries Department, which was now directly in contact with INCOIS, they said.

Director of Fisheries G. Ramalakshmi said that when the matter was brought to the notice of the department, a letter was sent to INCOIS, pointing to the need for immediate re-installation of the information board to help fishermen. The reply from INCOIS said that the technology that was in use in the system had become obsolete and that the entire board has to be replaced with a new technology. This, she said, would be done at the earliest. On the issue of the community not allowing the society to carry on the work, Ms. Ramalakshmi said that the issue will figure in the next meeting between the department and the members of the community.

She also said that currently, information regarding sea conditions were being communicated to the fisherfolk through village level officers.