Officials are unable to trace several families due to migration of a large number of fishermen

A large numbers of marine fishermen of Ganjam district coast have started migrating in search of livelihood.

Officials are unable to trace several families while trying to distribute cards for provision of subsidised rice to them due to migration of fishermen.

It may be noted that government has recently come up with the decision to provide subsidised rice at one rupee per kg to all marine fisherman families.

A leader of marine fisherman community in Ganjam district W. Simadri said these cards were being distributed to marine fisherman families on Ganjam coast.

There were several BPL marine fisherman families who were getting subsidised rice.

Mangaraj Panda, a social activist working for fisherman community on Odisha coast said as per an assessment around 2,200 new marine fisherman families of Ganjam district were to be added up as beneficiaries for the subsidised rice scheme. “But around 50 per cent of these families are hard to find as they have migrated in search of work,” Mr Panda said.

Not sustainable

According to Mr Panda, this clearly indicates the fact that even the so called APL marine fisherman families no more consider fishing to be a profession that can provide sustainable income.

He also pointed out the fact that this subsidised rice scheme for marine fishermen was already delayed in Ganjam district.

“In Kendrapara and Puri districts the beneficiaries have already received subsidised rice twice, but in Ganjam all beneficiaries are yet to get cards to avail the benefit,” he said.

Lack of livelihood due to low pressures in sea during monsoon and the cyclones following it compels the marine fishermen of this region migrate in search of work, said B.Chitama, leader of Samudram, a woman’s organisation of marine fisherman’s community.

Monsoon season and two months following it are considered appalling days by the marine fishermen.

During this period they are refrained from entering the sea during continuous low pressures formed over the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon.

It is followed by a series of cyclonic storms on the Orissa coast during October and November.

Fishermen migrate during these months as their traditional boats remain on the beach most of the days due to vagaries of the climate.

Apart from it the fishermen also allege that due to several reasons including illegal fishing by trawlers near the coast their catch has also got reduced.