Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | Fishermen up in arms against promises of AIADMK, DMK

Voicing concern: The SSCP, for over a decade, has been called an anti-fishermen move.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

At least seven fishermen associations have come together once again, raising objections to the proposed revival of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP), one of the promises in the DMK manifesto.

K. Bharathi of the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association said opposition to the project that envisages the formation of a navigable canal around peninsular India was not new and they had been calling it an anti-fishermen move for over a decade now. “The coastal communities, right from Thoothukudi, will lose their livelihood. We cannot fish in the waters off the coast. The DMK calls it a 150-year-old dream of the Tamils. We don’t want it,” he said.

Elevated corridor

Kabaddi Maran of the Tamil Nadu Meenavar Munnetra Sangam said the DMK manifesto also talks of reviving an elevated corridor from Light House to Kottivakkam. “This is another proposal that will lead to the shifting of coastal hamlets. It will also harm the environment and disturb Olive Ridley turtles that nest on our beaches,” he said, pointing out that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced in 2011 that the project would not be taken up since the interests of the fishermen were foremost to her.

Ko. Su. Mani of the Tamil Nadu Meenavar Makkal Sangam said an elevated corridor in the sea from Tiruvottiyur to Chennai port was another project that would affect fishermen in north Chennai. “The DMK has done enough harm to fishermen. They were the ones who brought in the coal-fired power stations at Ennore. They moved fishing villages, promised land and ended up sacking 350 fishermen, saying they did not have the requisite educational qualifications. It took us a huge protest to get these men reinstated,” he recalled.

Desalination works

S. Rupesh Kumar of the Parambariya Meenavar Sangam said both the AIADMK and the DMK had announced the setting up of desalination projects, which were detrimental to fishing activities.

“The AIADMK manifesto says it will set up desalination projects wherever necessary. But the DMK promises one each in all coastal districts. We have been objecting to these projects since they spoil the coast and increase salinity,” he said.

These associations plan to take these points to the coastal hamlets and ensure there is enough opposition to these proposals.

“We took only the manifestos of the AIADMK and the DMK for comparison since they are the two major parties,” said Mr. Bharathi.

These organisations also said they were very much bothered by the lack of adequate representation for the community that has a considerable influence in all coastal districts. “The DMK has been anti-fishermen for long. In 2011, it fielded two candidates and after that, just one. The AIADMK fielded five of our men in 2011 and even gave us our first-ever member of Parliament. This time too, we have two candidates in the AIADMK, whereas only one in the DMK,” said S.A. Magesh of the Akila Indhiya Parambariya Meenavar Sangam.


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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 11:53:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/fishermen-up-in-arms-against-promises-of-aiadmk-dmk/article34173756.ece

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