January 19 2019
Traditional fishermen stage protest
11 May 2018

They oppose eviction and prevention from using Sangumal seashore

Residents of at least six coastal fishing hamlets staged a demonstration after entering the sea in Rameswaram on Thursday in protest against eviction and prevention of traditional fishermen from using Sangumal seashore and demanding the shelving of the park project in the area.

Led by M. Karunamurthy, district secretary of the CITU affiliated to Tamil Nadu Meenpidi Koottamaippu, about 150 traditional fishermen from nearly 10 hamlets including Sambai, Vadakadu, Olaikuda, Mangadu, Ariyangundu and Kudiyiruppu entered the sea on Thursday and staged the protest.

He said the fishermen, who eked out a living by engaging in traditional fishing methods, would be deprived of their livelihood if they were evicted from the seashore.

He said the proposed development of park with a compound wall would prevent them from accessing the seashore and urged the district administration to shelve the project.

“The government could not build the park to entertain tourists and pilgrims at the cost of traditional fishermen who had been using the ‘Sangumal harbour’ for nearly 500 years,” he said.

The fishermen who used the seashore for keeping their hooks and lines, cast nets, small gill nets and thermocol floats after building thatched roof sheds were evicted in December last when President Ramnath Kovind visited Rameswaram on a day’s visit.

After the President’s visit, officials assured an alternative site but failed keep the promise. Now they were building compound wall to develop the park, which would prevent fishermen from accessing the Sangumal seashore, he said.

The protest was to urge the fisheries department officials to ensure that mechanised boats were not allowed to fish inside three nautical miles after the end of the fishing ban period.



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