Fishermen from 15 villages of Pulicat, on Monday, blockaded the way to the private port in Kattupalli, seeking permanent jobs and pay hikes for the 250 villagers working in the port.
Around 2,000 persons sat on the road leading to the port, shouting slogans demanding better facilities for the staff. “We get only ₹436 per day as pay, which is a dismal amount. We cannot run our families with this income. We were promised jobs, since we lost our livelihood due to the construction of the port. A large population has lost its livelihood since the fish population has considerably dwindled in the Pulicat lake, the Ennore Creek and the backwaters running between these water bodies,” said C. Paranthaman, a local leader.
Raja of Ennore said that the Puzhudhivakkam Koda and the Kattupalli Koda, fishing grounds in the sea, have been made inaccessible to fishermen due to the two ports -- Kamarajar, and the Adani port at Kattupalli. “All the power stations and ports have either filled up water bodies with dredging soil or fly ash or constructed bridges and coal-carrying belts that crisscross the backwaters. This has led to blocking of the water flow and massive reduction in fish. In such a situation we can only depend on the government to help us,” he explained.
Fishermen have been, time and again, urging the State government to stop the proposed expansion of the Adani port and ensure permanent employment for them. “The port has not kept its word to provide jobs and other facilities that it had earlier promised,” said a resident of Pulicat.