Fishermen of the Meenakaliya forced a barge to treat near Mukka in Surathkal on Thursday.
The barge arrived on the shores of Mukka to carry out dredging to lay the effluent pipeline of the Mangalore Special Economic Zone. Meenakaliya is about 3 km by road from Mukka.
The fishermen, who protested, live in the Meenakaliya area near Baikampady and are members of the Karavali Sampradayika Nadadoni Meenugarara Sangha.
Taking out their traditional boats from Meenakaliya to the spot where the pipeline would be laid in Mukka, the fishermen surrounded the barge and the boat accompanying it.
President of the sangha Vasudev B.K. told the boat crew that it should be taken back. Soon, the boat crew towed the barge away from the shore and it could be seen a long way off from the shore. Speaking to journalists after returning to the shore in Meenakaliya, Mr. Vasudev said the fishermen were essentially demanding that they be given proper information about the effluents that would be dumped into the sea.
He said that there were four effluent pipelines of different companies and they knew what was being dumped into the sea. “But with this (MSEZ pipeline), we don't know what they will dump,” Mr. Vasudev said.
He said the fishing community, which depended on traditional methods, was facing hard times.
“Traditional fishermen have taken a beating because fish that were available near the shore have receded deeper into the sea. On many days, fishermen return empty-handed,” he said.
Mr. Vasudev said the fishermen were demanding that the company call them for discussions and tell them exactly what they would be dumping into the sea.
Public Relations Officer of MSEZL Ramachandra Bhandarkar said the district administration was aware of the issue and that the Deputy Commissioner had called a meeting of the fishermen as well as the company on Monday when the issue would hopefully be sorted out.