Govt. moves to give a leg-up to fishermen


CM lays stone for four fishing harbours, says plans drawn for construction of three seaports

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday said the government drew up plans for the construction of seaports at Ramayapatnam, Bhavanapadu and Machilipatnam at a total cost of approximately ₹10,000 crore, and that a sum of ₹3,500 crore had been earmarked for establishing eight fishing harbours and development of 25 aquaculture hubs.

These facilities would help in improving the living standards of fishermen who were languishing below the poverty line in spite of having the country’s second longest (974 km) coastline, the Chief Minister said while laying the foundation virtually for four harbours at Machilipatnam, Nizampatnam in Guntur district and Juvvaladinne and Uppada in Nellore and East Godavari districts respectively.

Addressing the officials and fishermen and women, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy said tenders for the four harbours to be built in the first phase at an estimated cost of ₹1,510 crore would be finalised by December 15 and works would begin soon thereafter.

Four harbours would be built in the second phase at Budagatlapalem in Srikakulam district, Pudimadaka in Visakhapatnam, Biyyaputippa in West Godavari and Kothapatnam in Prakasam district.

He expressed regret that the fishing community had been extremely backward for a long time, deprived of proper healthcare and education and housing. They had to struggle hard to earn minimum returns on the fish caught by them. The crux of their problem was the absence of adequate number of ports and harbours, he observed.

As a consequence, a large number of fishermen families had migrated to Gujarat and other States, and their arrest by the security forces of Pakistan and Bangladesh during fishing in the international waters was quite common, he said.

The YSRCP government paid attention to this problem and got hundreds of such fishermen released from prisons in those countries, the Chief Minister said.

25 aqua hubs

Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy also said that 25 aqua hubs would be developed in the first phase as part of the government’s endeavour to have such facilities in all the constituencies in the future. Infrastructure required for storing, processing and marketing fish and other aqua products would be created at these places.

He further said that the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) owed ₹78 crore towards compensation for 16,500-odd families in East Godavari district that lost their livelihood due to the drilling operations. The State government paid that amount to the affected families as it was not sure when the Centre would give that money, he said.

The framing of the AP Fish Feed (Quality Control) Act and the establishment of Aquaculture Development Authority and a Fisheries University in West Godavari district were some of the other significant initiatives of the government aimed at helping the fishermen community in overcoming the problems that had been plaguing them for generations, the Chief Minister said.

Ministers Botcha Satyanarayana and S. Appala Raju, Agriculture Mission vice-chairman M.V.S. Nagi Reddy and Special Chief Secretary (fisheries) Poonam Malakondaiah were among those present. s

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