Malpe: Silt accumulated at Malpe port, one of the largest all-season fishing ports in Asia, has not only been affecting operations but also raised safety concerns.
Fishermen say silt accumulation is common at seaports. regular dredging is carried out to clear the accumulation and make the port fit for operations. However, it has been 7-8 years since dredging was done at the port, resulting in present-day problems, they alleged.
The accumulated silt hampers fishing operations. Boats can’t reach the pier, they said.
The situation is so grim that fishermen are refusing to unload fish from boats for fear of losing their lives. Fishermen say that if anyone accidentally falls into the silt, there is no chance of survival. The person will be buried in the deep slimy saturated mud, without any chance of rescue. Moreover, lifting the dead body from the marchy soil is almost impossible, they said.
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The beautiful fishing port, where more than 2 thousand boats can anchor, has reached such a pitiable condition. At least 20 fishermen slip and die here every year.
Raviraj Suvarna, a representative of the deepsea fishermen’s organization said that more than 100 fisherfolk have lost their lives at Malpe in the past 5-6 years. The government had announced a compensation of Rs 6 lakhs to the kin of fishermen who lost their lives. However, more than Rs 2 crores in compensation amount to the families is still pending, he said.
Meanwhile, Udaya Kumar Assistant Executive Engineer of the Department of Ports said that the state government has approved the dredging at Malpe. The tender for the project has been floated and is expected to complete within a month’s time, he added.
MLA K Raghupati Bhat said that he was not aware of the non-payment of compensation amount to fishermen. The matter will be brought to the notice of concerned officials, he added.