Fishermen seek fair deal

Staff Reporter

Coastal yatra reaches city

Aim is to gather views of fishermen on east and west coasts

Bill protecting their traditional rights sought

VISAKHAPATNAM: The first leg of national coastal yatra of Traditional Fisher People’s National Federation, which is intended to gather views that will be submitted for inclusion in the new bill on traditional fishermen rights to be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament, has arrived here.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests had announced in August 2009, after the dropping of the draft Coastal Zone Management notification, that a bill guaranteeing the rights of traditional fishermen would be introduced. The yatra has been taken up to gather the views of the fishermen communities on the east and west coasts. A team, comprising convener Gilbert Rodrigo and members Anton Gomez, K.V. Kalaimani, John P. Rayen, Arjili Dasu and Mariadass, visited Kakinada and Visakhapatnam.

The yatra on the East Coast started from Kanyakumari on October 2 and ends at Diamond Harbour in Kolkata. It will culminate in a meeting on World Fishermen Day on November 21 at Kanyakumari and will put forward its suggestions for inclusion in a holistic bill for protecting the traditional rights of fishermen. Mr. Rodgrio told reporters here on Tuesday that the CRZ notification had limited itself to protecting land within 500 m of the high tide zone. Mr. Gomez expressed concern over the number of industrial units that had come up at Kakinada and pollution affecting fishermen. Similarly, a number of projects were sanctioned in Srikakulam district without regard to protecting the rights of fishermen. In the construction of Gangavaram port too fishermen had been displaced, he said.

Mr. Dasu wanted the bill on the lines of those meant for Dalits and tribals protecting the rights of traditional fishermen.