Agri Business

Improvements sought at Mangaluru fish-landing centre

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on April 30, 2020 Published on April 30, 2020

Around 1.5 lakh people are engaged in fishing and related activities that are directly or indirectly connected to the landing centre

A team of experts from the College of Fisheries in Mangaluru, which undertook a field survey at Old Mangaluru Port (the major fish landing centre in Dakshina Kannada district), has suggested the need to improve toilet facilities to migrant labourers at the port.

Shivakumar Magada, Professor and Head of Department of Aquatic Environment Management at the college, who led the survey team, told BusinessLine that the landing centre harbours 1,337 trawl boats, 57 purse-seine boats, 1,420 motorised boats and 534 traditional boats.

Around 1.5 lakh people are engaged in fishing and related activities that are directly or indirectly connected to the landing centre.

Apart from fishermen from the district, labourers from states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Odisha and Chhattisgarh are also engaged in fishing activities in the district, he said.

Recalling the team’s interactions with the migrant workers, he said 400-500 workers from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu are stranded in Old Mangaluru Port.

Though the Boat Owners’ Association has been providing meals to these migrant workers every day, the team observed the lack of adequate toilet facilities at Old Mangaluru Port.

Only two toilets are operational there, and there is a big rush during the morning hours. Workers are, therefore, forced to defecate in the open in isolated areas there, he said.

The team suggested that the State government and other agencies step in to enhance basic facilities at the fish-landing centre. Users should not be charged for the usage of toilets, he said.

Facilitate return

The migrant workers, especially those who are away from their families, are also facing the stress of separation.

The team — which discussed its observations with the Dean of the college, Senthil Vel, and other faculty members — has suggested that the government grant permission to the migrant workers to reach their home States after the lockdown.

He said it would be appropriate to provide them with alternative income-generating activities such as net making and net mending for the time being.

Magada said the government allowed the operation of traditional fishing boats in mid-April. This has given a little breathing space to the fishing community.

At least 20,000-30,000 people used visit the port at any given time during the normal fish-landing period earlier, he added.

Published on April 30, 2020
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