Fishermen threaten to disrupt ships' movement at JNPT from Jan 21

Project affected families from the fishing community of Sheva village, whose lands were acquired for the construction of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) 40 years ago, have now called for indefinite agitation threatening to block the movement of ships from January 21st. The strike warning was given over the failure of JNPT to rehabilitate the project affected families and no compensation given to them to date, claimed Ramesh Koli, one of the affected fishermen.

He claimed, "JNPT acquired our property for the port development and in exchange were supposed to rehabilitate us on 17 hectares of a land parcel but only 2 hectares of land was allotted. For the development of 17 hectares, JNPT was to give Rs 6.20 crore but no money is disbursed to date.

Annoyed with the false assurance given by the authority and failure of government, we will go on strike now."

According to the plan, over 125 traditional fishing boats will be pressed into action on January 21 to block the entry and exit of ships at JNPT. Meanwhile, Koli asserted that several meetings were held with the administration and JNPT. The matter was also taken to the Lokayukt. Moreover, Members of Parliament, legislators of our constituency, ministers were also involved but no solution has come out till today.

In all, 256 families have been displaced from Sheva village and now they have grown to about 600 families, Suresh Damodar Koli, head of the Village Reforms Committee said. "As per the agreement, JNPT is supposed to train the project-hit people and give them jobs but nothing was done. Moreover now, the fishing community is being denied of its legitimate, constitutionally guaranteed right to fish," he contended.

An email query and text messages sent seeking JNPT's comments on the issue did not receive a response.

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