Ship building facility at Malpe: delegation to meet Chief Minister

Staff Correspondent

UDUPI: The Tourism and District in-charge Minister, D.T. Jayakumar, said on Saturday that a delegation of representatives of people and fishermen community will meet the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, to solve the problems arising out of the construction of a ship building and repair facility on the Malpe port premises.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Jayakumar said he had held a meeting at the zilla panchayat here on Friday, in which officials, representatives of people, leaders of the fishermen community and representatives of a private company, which is constructing the facility, participated.

Repairing boats

He said the representatives of the company promised that the boats of fishermen too would be repaired in one portion of the facility.

The company is expected to build four ships a year. It is necessary for the company to win the confidence of the fishermen.

The facility is being constructed at a cost of Rs. 22 crores. The decision to permit the construction of the yard was taken by the previous Government, he said.

He said the leaders of the fishermen community made it clear that though the company is promising to safeguard the interests of the fishermen, there is no guarantee it would do so. Besides if the company decides to build one ship, the gateway of the channel connecting the port to the sea will be blocked thus stopping the movement of the boats of fishermen.

He said the company also intends to take up ship breaking activities. It is not clear where the scrap of the broken ships will be kept.

Since the Chief Minister is holding the portfolio of Ports and Fisheries, it was decided to discuss the issue with him and arrive at a conclusion.

The company stopped the construction of the facility a month ago.

He too had issued a direction to the company to stop its construction activities, Mr. Jayakumar said.

Ban on fishing

On ban on fishing activities during monsoon, Mr. Jayakumar said the ban has been reduced from 90 days to 65 days and now to 45 days.

There are two opinions on this issue.

Some fishermen felt that this period should be extended as it helped increased fish production.

The other is that fishermen in Kerala followed a 45-day ban. If there is an extension of the ban period in Karnataka, they will come and fish in the waters of the State, rendering the ban meaningless.

Another problem was that the country boat fishermen will be affected by the reduction of the ban period as they fish during this period.

The Minister said a committee has been formed to resolve this issue. It will bring the matter to the notice of Mr. Dharam Singh, who will take a final decision.

He said that fish resources were declining, it is time fishermen started looking for alternative occupations.

However, this issue was best resolved by the leaders of the fishermen community, he said.

DC office complex

On construction of the Deputy Commissioner's office complex, the Minister said that the matter was in the court.

The Government is bound by the decision of the court. It is studying the issue, including finding an alternative location for the complex, Mr. Jayakumar said.

V.S. Acharya, MLC, T. Sham Bhatt, Deputy Commissioner, and Pramod Madhwaraj, president of the Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha, were present.

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