Other States

Coronavirus lockdown | 30,000 Odisha fishers in distress: unions

Most stranded at southern ports without money

With request to Odisha government for measures for their safe return, Odisha Traditional Fish Workers’ Union (OTFWU) has submitted details of around 30,000 migrant fish workers from Odisha, who are now stranded in other coastal States.

During past few days several of these migrant fish workers had started taking up dangerous sea voyages in fishing motorboats from Chennai to Odisha’s Ganjam district. According to Mangaraj Panda, a social activist working with traditional marine fishermen of Odisha coast, every year thousands of fishermen from Odisha migrate to fishing harbours in other coastal States to work as crew members of mechanised fishing fleets. They also get employed in allied activities like fish processing, net mending, boat repair.

These migrant fish workers usually return to their homes in Odisha by the start of monsoon rains. This year they are stranded at their respective fishing harbours outside the State because of lockdown announced for COVID-19. According to Mr. Panda, most of them are stranded in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Karnataka.

Secretary of OTFWU, K. Alleya said without proper accommodation, these stranded fishermen are compelled to stay in cramped cabins of fishing boats. Most of them have not been shifted to better accommodations. They are also facing problem to get good food.

During first phase of lockdown, some fishing boat owners were helping the workers to procure food. In the second phase of lockdown, boat owners could not continue the help due to own financial restraints, said Mr. Alleya.

Most stranded migrant fish workers are in a state of stress and anxiety due to lack of money. Their frantic distress calls to different various fisher trade unions and supporting organisations is on the rise, said Mr Panda. In some cases, anxiety is compelling the fishermen to take up sea voyage to Odisha coast by fishing motorboats, he added.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 12:34:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-lockdown-30000-odisha-fishers-in-distress-unions/article31482338.ece

Next Story