Migrant workers from other states stranded at Old Port in Mangaluru

Source: TNN | Published on 30th April 2020, 8:11 PM | Coastal News | State News |

Mangaluru: An expert team headed by Dr Shivkumar Magada, professor and head, department of Aquatic Environment Management, along with Dr Lakshmipathi and Dr Annappaswamy from the College of Fisheries, Mangaluru, undertook a field survey of the Old Port, Bunder on Tuesday.

Dr Magada told TOI, the team observed that around 400 – 500 migrant workers from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Tamil Nadu are stranded at the port. The old port has only two toilets forcing men to opt for open defecation. We urge the government to build more toilets and improve basic facilities. On a normal fishing day, over 20,000 people use the Old Port.

“We have been told that the Boat Owners Association are providing lunch and dinner for around 600-700 people every day. The district administration has sensitized the fishing communities about the precautionary measures to be taken with regard to COVID-19 , “ he said.

The team also observed that due to non-fishing and non-operation of the port area the waters and the port looked clean. The water quality has improved in the port and no fish or diesel smell is emanating. The birds such as crows, sparrows, kites, which are to be plenty in the port area were found missing. The team observed only a few women fish vendors at the State Bank fish market. On enquiring, they said the income levels had drastically reduced and are facing serious financial problems at home. The fish prices have also soared up because of limited supply.

Following the visit, the team held a discussion with Dr Senthil Vel, dean and other faculty members and suggested that the government must step in to enhance basic facilities at the fish landing centre at Bunder, and no charges should be levied for usage of toilets. They suggested that a stakeholders’ meeting be convened by the department of Fisheries to discuss an exit plan.

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