Coronavirus outbreak: Fishermen take a massive hit, blame it on poor planning
Chairman of a fishermen welfare association asks government to allow the markets to open on alternate days with restricted number of buyers
The sudden announcement of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 has left the fishermen community in the lurch. While some opened shops at the fish markets on Tuesday hoping to see customers, but in vain, several others were forced to throw away their catch as they were rotting away, thanks to lack of ice supply.
The government had allowed the fishermen community to open shops at Versova market, but no buyers showed up owing to the movement restriction. There are more than 10,000 registered fishing boats in Maharashtra of which 4,000 to 5,000 are in Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone. A lockdown means the fishermen won't be able to venture into the sea and they fear their losses are running into crores of rupees, impacting thousands of lives.
Ganesh Nakhwa, vice-president of Maharashtra Purse Seine Net Fishermen Welfare Association, told mid-day, "The lockdown might be in larger public interest, but I personally think there is a lack of planning behind the decision. Had they alerted us in advance, we would not have gone fishing. Now, we have ended up with a huge stock of fish, which we are forced to throw away because there are no buyers and no cold storage facilities, as the ice industry is shut too." The fishermen community had no luck at Versova either, despite the approval to open their markets in the mornings.
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