At least 700 fishermen and women from five villages, including Olaikuda and Sangumal, in Rameswaram have planned to set up gruel centre (kanji thotti) near the Collectorate on Wednesday to draw the governments attention to their long-pending demands.
Speaking to reporters, CITU (fishermen wing) district secretary M. Karunamoorthy and president E. Justin on Sunday said the fishing sector, particularly country boat fishermen, faced a bleak future and survival had become a big question for a majority of the community.
Although there were various factors, including the pandemic, responsible for the dire situation, the prime issue was official apathy and nonchalant attitude of the governments in redressal of their grievances.
Also, mechanised boats were using banned fish nets despite the tall claims of officials of the Fisheries Department. When the governments had categorically instructed that country boat fishermen alone shall venture into fishing within two to three nautical miles, mechanised boat fishermen violated the arrangement.
Hence, in order to draw the attention of the authorities to their grievances and seek redress, the fishermen collected contributions from people in front of churches on Sunday to set up the gruel centre. We have no other alternative but to look for government support for our survival, Mr. Karunamoorthy said.
Even if police arrested the fishermen, they would remain in prison along with their families. At least 700 to 1,000 members would assemble near the office of the Fisheries Department on Wednesday, he added.