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It's time to mend boats

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Right hour: Repair work on boats under way along the Cuddalore coastline.
Right hour: Repair work on boats under way along the Cuddalore coastline.

Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: The sound of mechanised tools cutting into wood and polishing surface is being heard at select fish landing centres along the Cuddalore coastline. With the 45-day fishing holiday in force, carpenters are working overtime to repair damaged wooden frames and panels of boats.

Hundreds of trawlers and mechanised boats are idling along the coast and it is the ideal time for the owners to mend their boats and fishing nets. M. Subramani, a trawler operator at the Old Town area, said that the fishing crafts need periodical maintenance to tackle the corrosive nature of seawater. Fishermen generally allocate a portion of their earnings for the task.

Many carpenters have put up tents at places such as the Cuddalore Port area, Sellankuppam and Panchayankuppam. They mostly work on mahogany and neem wood, which would withstand the pounding of waves and the corrosive nature of seawater. K. Balu, a senior carpenter, said that repair works ought to be done deftly without leaving even a hairline gap or a weak spot in the craft structure.

According to sources, the daily wages of the carpenters, which is usually between Rs. 300 and Rs. 400, would be between Rs. 400 and Rs. 500 during the fishing holiday. The boat owners would also have to offer incentives to retain the workforce. Most of the carpenters would prefer building new boats, and, therefore it would be difficult to engage them in small repair works, sources said.

The owners also spend a lot of money on painting their boats and mending their fishing nets, the latter being an intricate and time consuming job.

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