Fishermen from seven coastal districts --Palghar, Thane, Mumbai city and suburbs, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg staged a protest at 184 docks by showing black flags against the state and union government for their failure to provide any relief to the distressed sector on Monday.
Damodar Tandel, president of Akhil Machimaar Kruti Samiti told the Free Press Journal, "Due to the lockdown imposed to contain the novel coronavirus, markets were closed that has badly affected the fishing business. Besides this, the recent cyclone Nisarga caused major damages to the fishermen boats in three districts--Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhdurg. Last year too due to cyclonic disturbance in the Arabian Sea, fishermen incurred heavy losses. However, no relief was given despite seven district collectors submitting reports of the trade incurring a loss to the tune of Rs 200 crore. Now, the union government has increased price of diesel further adding to the sufferings of the fishermen. Therefore, we are demanding a compensatory relief package from the state and diesel subsidy from the union government."
The state has 720 kilometres of long coastal line and one lakh fishermen engaged in this business entirely earning their livelihood through fishing. While there are 20,000 mechanised and non-mechanised boats.
Tandel stated that from August 1 the fishing activity will resume as venturing in the sea during monsoon is restricted as an annual exercise. "Both state and union government should make announcement for the benefit of fishermen. As an immediate solution we want state to give us Rs 25,000 each and Rs 1 lakh to the boat owners for buying diesel so the distressed fishermen can once again start his business." Like farmers who had been given Rs two lakh each as a compensation relief package on similar lines fishermen should be given some monetary relief, he asserted.