Mechanised boat fishermen of the district have demanded hike in the relief during the 45-day ban on fishing which commenced on April 15. Comparing the special incentives available for the fishermen of Puducherry and adjoining Karaikal, they justify their demand seeking additional funds for maintenance of their boats and engines.
G. Ramakrishnan, president, Jegadapattinam mechanised boat owners welfare association, said an estimated 500 owners were operating in the district and about 1,600 fishermen of Jegadapattinam and Kottaipattinam were deprived of their livelihood during the ban period.
Although the objective of the ban was a welcome measure facilitating the natural regeneration of marine species, the permission granted to country-boats played a spoilsport, he says. Mr. Ramakrishnan pointed out that a section of motor-fitted country-boat fishermen posed a deterrent to the regeneration process.
Referring to the relief of Rs.2,000 during the ban, he said it was too difficult for the economically weaker fishermen to eke out their living during this period. The severe heat during the summer caused extensive damage to the nets and engines. “The nets are not damaged while in use in water continuously,” he said.
Realising the importance for maintenance and upkeep of boats, the Puducherry government has been sanctioning Rs.20,000 a mechanised boat owner.
“Fishermen from Karaikal, a neighbouring region, are eligible for higher relief in terms of maintenance of boats. This apart, the Puducherry government sanctions a sum of Rs.2,750 to every fisherman,” he said.
Mr. Ramakrishnan said every mechanised boat owner incurred a huge expenditure ranging between Rs.50,000 and Rs.2 lakh towards repair and maintenance. The State government should sanction special incentive towards the expenses.
Further, the family relief of Rs. 2,000 should be increased to at least Rs. 8,000, taking into consideration the spiralling rise in the prices of commodities.