Work to upgrade the Kasimedu Fishing Harbour, a long-pending demand of fishermen in the city, is likely to commence in three months. The Centre has sanctioned ₹98 crore for works, numbering 25, and estimated to cost ₹127 crore totally.
“The balance cost will be met from the funds of the Fishing Harbour Management Committee (FHMC). The work has been divided into six packages, and the first package is likely to commence by January. The entire project is likely to end by June 2025,” Sunil Paliwal, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, told The Hindu.
The fishing harbour at Kasimedu in north Chennai, which is one of Tamil Nadu’s nine major fishing harbours, is also one of the two major export-oriented fish processing locations in the State. It is spread over 96 acres and is used by around 750 mechanised boats from villages in Chennai, Tiruvallur, and Chengalpattu.
As part of the project planned to upgrade it to international standards, the modernisation includes the construction of additional fish landing wharves, a mechanised fish-handling complex, a ship-lift boat repair facility, a cleaning, packaging and cold storage, a sanitary complex, a compound wall with proper entry/exit arrangements, and an upgrade to essential amenities, such as drinking water supply and waste management.
Nanjil Ravi, who runs an ice factory, said facilities to repair boats, shops to sell spare parts and fishing accessories, and fish processing areas would help improve the quality of fish landing at the harbour. “At present, we don’t directly export fish. Most of it is sent to Kerala from where it is exported. Fishing harbours need to be of a certain standard for fish to be exported. The fishing harbour here lacks many facilities. This new project will help fishermen in a major way,” he said.
M.D. Dayalan, a fishing community leader, who welcomed the project, said a dedicated bank for fishermen or a proper system for getting loans should also be started. “The State government had started the process for a bank,” he said, adding that if the bank was started, more fishing boats would be able to go on voyages, bringing back tuna and other export quality fish. At present, only around 60% of fishing boats leave the harbour.