Kochi

Caught in red tape, Chinese nets facing ruin

Vanishing beauty: A ₹2.44-crore project to renovate the Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi is pending for long.

Vanishing beauty: A ₹2.44-crore project to renovate the Chinese fishing nets in Fort Kochi is pending for long.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

KITCO expected to procure teak logs from Forest Department

Fishermen who man the eight iconic Chinese fishing nets that dot the Fort Kochi beach front are a dejected lot, with the long-pending ₹2.44-crore project to renovate the nets using lengthy teak logs caught in red tape yet again.

Kerala Tourism had entrusted Kerala Industrial and Technology Consultancy Organisation (KITCO) with the task of implementing the project, following a fall in the number of nets from 14 over a decade ago to the present eight. Back in December, KITCO officials were expected to ink an agreement “within a week” with the Forest Department to procure teak logs from the forest.

It is still unclear what is hampering delivery of the teak logs to renovate the nets, said Sebastian Kurishinkal, vice president of the Chinese Net Owners’ Association.

“It is very painful that Kerala Tourism and KITCO are not pursuing the project in right earnest, despite innumerable media reports about the plight of these nets. Little has happened, except that a dozen wooden logs (not teak) that are part of the nets were unloaded nearby. Termites will destroy them if there is any further delay in using them for the renovation,” he said.

Apart from their tourism value, over 10 families are dependent on income from each net. The fish catch is dwindling and the cost of maintaining the nets is increasing. The setting up of a Water Metro terminal in between the nets will further threaten the nets, Mr. Kurishinkal said.

The government’s delay in reaching out help to the net operators resulted in many of them replacing worn-out teak wood logs with steel poles which do not have the aesthetic value of wood.

The nets need lengthy teak logs with no curves, that can be assembled as the frame of the cantilever nets.

Net operators and other tourism stakeholders have also been demanding removal of encroachers and vendors who hamper view of the nets.

They also demanded steps to tidy the beachfront and open sewage drains near the nets that are an eyesore, cause stink and pose threat to safety of tourists.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:42:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/caught-in-red-tape-chinese-nets-facing-ruin/article30966764.ece

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