Call to clean up beach at Malpe

Staff Correspondent

UDUPI: There are different opinions between a hotel resort, said to be an example of private-public partnership, and fishermen at Malpe on the existence of a fishmeal plant and the smell of fish in the area.

Addressing presspersons here on Friday, the Managing Director of Paradise Isle Beach Resort, Manohar, said Malpe is one of the most beautiful beaches and could be a great tourist attraction. Unfortunately, the whole of Malpe is polluted. There is a strong smell of rotten fish at the Malpe harbour and beach, he said.

Some government land is used for drying inconsumable and rotten fish. Because of this, there are plenty of flies in the area. The fish processing plant is letting out water into open gutters without treating it, he alleged. The height of the chimney of the plant is also low. The fish should be dried in a closed chamber.

The resort is not interested in the closure of the plant. However, the owners of the plant should upgrade their technology, he said. Unhygienic conditions prevail on the St. Mary's Island and Malpe beach, though the task of keeping it clean has been entrusted to the Malpe Development Committee. The resort does not want hutments in the area to be removed, but wants the entire area to be clean, Mr. Manohar said.

`Plant essential'

The President of Malpe Fishermen's Association, Shivappa Kanchan, told The Hindu on Saturday that the fishmeal plant at Malpe is essential for fishermen.

Thousands of fishermen sell fish to the plant for processing and get a good price. The plant had been in existence since 1962, whereas the resort came up only some years ago, he said.

The Association will deal seriously with attempts to disturb the livelihood of fishermen. Not much smell is emanating from the fishmeal plant, he said. The fish are being processed scientifically at the plant. In fact, the fishermen require two to three additional fishmeal plants so that they can get competitive rates, Mr. Kanchan added.

The Production Manager of Raj Fish Meal and Oil Company, Malpe, Shashikant D. Kotian, said that no fish is being dried in the open land by the company. The fish is purchased by the company at auctions at the Malpe harbour. It is processed with the most modern equipment and exported, he said.

The used water is drained through pipes into the sea. The left over parts of the fish are used for preparing fertiliser, which does not give out any smell, he said.

There is no air pollution as the factory uses a 60-ft chimney. Fish drying is done in a closed chamber. The company is committed to upgradation of technology. "So far there is no technology, which can stop the smell of the fish," Mr. Kotian added.

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