Visakhapatnam

Hygiene a big casualty here

Fishers selling their catch on dirty roads at Fishing Harbour in Visakhapatnam.— Photo: K.R. Deepak

Fishers selling their catch on dirty roads at Fishing Harbour in Visakhapatnam.— Photo: K.R. Deepak  

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Deteriorating sanitation at Fishing Harbour a cause for concern. The AP Pollution Control Board has been denying ‘no-objection certificate’ for scrapping the abandoned trawlers.

As World Fisheries Day celebrations on Saturday focused on over-exploitation, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the profession, deteriorating hygiene and sanitation at Fishing Harbour here remains a matter of serious concern for past several years.

Set up by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1976 in 24 hectares, European Union has stopped buying seafood captured in Visakhapatnam area for past seven years due to poor quality. Despite several proposals, the situation has remained the same.

Moreover, drainwater also finds its way into the harbour from Zero Jetty. One-third of berthing area is blocked by abandoned trawlers because of which the damage suffered by the mechanised boats in the harbour during Cyclone Hudhud was very severe. The AP Pollution Control Board has been denying ‘no-objection certificate’ for scrapping the abandoned trawlers stating that the activity would cause pollution and they should be taken to ship-breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat.

Despite objections by the EU, Visakhapatnam has retained as the country’s top exporter for seafood by exporting consignments valuing Rs.7,578 crore during 2014-15 which were brought here from various ship landing centres of North Andhra and Odisha.

Visakhapatnam Port, which is the custodian of the fishing harbour, has been holding several rounds of discussions to involve the stakeholders to ensure better upkeep of the area.

During the last visit to the city, Union Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitaraman had remarked that the fishing harbour was a ‘stinking hell.’

Port Chairman M.T. Krishna Babu says that they set up a committee by involving district administration and Greater Municipal Corporation of Visakhapatnam and fishing associations for better maintenance of the fishing harbour. “We want the boat owners and other stakeholders to take up the responsibility of maintaining the harbour by collecting user charges and restricting entry of vehicles,” he said.

“We want the conditions to improve in the larger interest of the community,” said Association of Indian Fishery Industry Y.G.K. Murti.

AP Mechanised Boat Operators’ Welfare Association P.C. Appa Rao said they were upset over the prevailing condition at the habour and want that it should get a facelift at the earliest.

While appreciating the port’s initiative to salvage the sunken boats post Hudhud by offering several cranes, Dolphin Boat Operators’ Welfare Association Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy said: “We want that all the stakeholders should realise the advantage of good hygiene and sanitation.”

Initiative comes a cropper

The initiative taken by the Visakhapatnam Port Trust to introduce maintenance of the fishing harbour by the stakeholders ran into rough weather following opposition by a section of fishermen and political elements.

The plan was to form a committee with large representation to fishermen associations to take care of maintenance from July 1 by collecting user charges and restricting vehicular movement. The port promised to release funds for dredging and repair of roads and other facilities.

As EU is not accepting consignments carrying frozen shrimp captured in Visakhapatnam area due to prevailing hygienic conditions, mostly they are routed through Bhimavaram, Nellore, Chennai and other places. “This sort of diversion is also affecting our export turnover though we stand among top exporters due to routing of consignments from large extent of hinterland including parts of Odisha, an exporter said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 2:15:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/hygiene-a-big-casualty-here/article7905164.ece

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