<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government’s national mega project of Sagarmala aimed at accelerating economic development in the country by harnessing potential of India’s 7,500 kilometre long coastline and 14,500 kilometre of navigable waterways has brought the fishermen community together who are feeling threatened of losing their livelihood.”We the fishermen are facing a serious threat as the government is planning to dot Indian coastline with about 300 big ports, about 50 nuclear power plants, dozens of smart cities touching industrial corridors. This development is highly unsustainable and is aimed at driving the traditional community of fishermen away,”said Chairperson of National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), M Ilango.According to Narendra R Patil General Secretary of Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samitee (MMKS), about a lakh of fishermen would lose their golden belt that fetches fishes like Pomfret, Ghol and Dadha once the Port of Jindal Infrastructure comes up on the coastline of Palghar district.”The decision to hand over four kilometres are inside the sea that will allow the company to breakwater and construct dock will finish coastline fishing activity,” said Ram Krishna Tandel, Secretary of MMKS.In Gujarat, the fishing industry, especially small and medium fishermen, is dying as it has become impossible to net fish close to the coastline.”Only the big fishermen having dhaos or bigger boats or fishermen who can risk their lives are able to catch fish if they 200 nautical miles deep into the sea. This often lands them in the hands of Pakistani authorities. Extension of present ports and upcoming ports will devastate them. Its a mystery that why the government is not fully utilizing the capacity of present ports which are not working at their optimum capacity,”said M S H Sheikh, an activist working with NFF.The severe effects of the Adani Port and Adani, Tata and OPG thermal power plants in the Mundra area on the traditional small fishermen are already there to see, said Sheikh.Given the critical issues and concerns, the NFF and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) have demanded the government to make the viability studies public and the local community consent be made mandatory before going ahead with these unviable projects.They have decided to observe World Fisheries Day on November 21 every year and along with various other peoples movements, organisations and networks has given a call against ‘Ocean Grabbing’ to highlight the situation of the coasts in India.

Taken from:  

Fishermen plan nationwide protest against Sagarmala project