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AIFI opposes move to shift Vizag fishing harbour

Ch R.S. Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on April 10, 2014

The Association of Indian Fishery Industries (AIFI), the AP Mechanised Boat Owners' Welfare Association and the Dolphin Boat Owners' Welfare Association have opposed the proposal to shift the fishing harbour from here to Moolakuddu near Bheemunipatnam.

They have also condemned the "negligent and arrogant attitude" of the Visakhapatnam port authorities in failing to maintain the fishing harbour in a proper manner.

At a joint media conference here on Thursday, the three organisations said the natural fishing harbour here was built more than 40 years ago with funds from the Union Ministry of Agriculture on port land and the maintenance was handed over to the port.

However, for the past four to five years, the port authorities were grossly neglecting the fishing harbour and even the basic amenities such as sanitation and traffic control in the harbour were being neglected.

AIFI President YGK Murthy said the port authorities were saying that the harbour would be shifted to Moolakuddu village near Bheemunipatnam, even though experts had clearly made a recommendation against it.

He said the experts of the Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fisheries had clearly stated in their report that Moolakuddu village was not at all technically and economically suitable for building a fishing harbour. Dredging would be required all the time to maintain the required draft for the vessels and it would be economically unviable.

PC Appa Rao, President of the AP Mechanised Boat Owners' Welfare Association, said 600 boats were operating from the harbour at the 11 jetties and 50,000 were directly or indirectly dependent on the harbour.

"Now the port authorities want to drive us away to Moolakuddu, building such one or twe jetties there. We will not budge from here. We will not hesitate to block the port channel with our boats, if the port authorities do not mend their ways,'' he said.

Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy of the Dolphin Boat Owners' Welfare Association said that the port was earning a revenue of Rs 60-70 lakh per annum through the fishing harbour, but was not spending even a fraction of it on improving the facilities.

He said there should be a separate fisheries ministry at the central and state levels to address the problems of the fishermen community.

sarma.rs@thehindu.co.in

Published on April 10, 2014

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