Condemning the ‘unscientific’ design of Thengaipattinam Fishing Harbour and the groynes that have caused several fatal accidents at the entry / exit point of the harbour, fishermen struck work on Tuesday and staged continuous protests since morning.
Since the flawed designing of the fishing harbor and the groynes laid nearby have failed to neutralize violent tides, mechanised and the country boats entering or leaving the harbour would be tossed up in the air and vessels would overturn to kill the fishermen. According to the fishermen operating from this harbour, 26 persons have lost their lives since 2017.
Moreover, 20 country boats and five mechanised boats have been damaged badly in these accidents, they say.
Whenever the fisheries department officials visit the fishing harbour after every accident, they used to leave the spot with the assurance that “corrective measures” would be taken at the earliest to avert accidents at the harbour’s entry / exit point. But no step has been taken to translate these assurances into action so far.
Participating in the Christmas celebrations held at Arumanai in western Kanniyakumari district in December 2020, then Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said Rs. 77 crore had been earmarked for renovation and expansion of the fishing harbour in western Kanniyakumari. However, no fund was allocated and the assurance vanished in thin air, agitators said.
After M.K. Stalin became the Chief Minister, the fishermen renewed their demand. When Simon, 48, father of three children, was killed after his country boat was thrown away by a violent tide on August 8, tension gripped the fishers who staged a dharna on the harbour premises on Tuesday.
Even though the police and officials from the Department of Fisheries held talks with the fishermen to give up their agitation till 7.30 p.m., they refused to withdraw the protest saying that the allocation of funds for correcting the unscientifically constructed harbour and the groynes alone would put an end to their dharna.