Mumbai: Fishermen bear brunt of storm too, many lose fishing boats

The cyclone Tauktae which unleashed its wrath on Mumbaikars on Monday had caused heavy damage to the properties of the fishermen of the city as well.

The huge tidal waves and gusty winds not only damaged the fishing boats but several boats have gone missing after the high tide receded in the afternoon. Members of the fishermen community said, after getting the cyclone warning from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday, not a single fisherman ventured into the sea for fishing. Many of their boats have been damaged despite taking all the precautions.

Ganesh Jagtap, a member of the community and general secretary of Macchimar Sarhoday Sahakari Society (MSSS) in Colaba, said that on Monday he had seen the most ferocious tidal waves in his life.

"All the boats were anchored in the shallow waters from Saturday, but on Monday, the tidal waves were so strong that the anchors got broken and the boats drifted away in the sea," Jagtap told FPJ.

He mentioned that there are approximately 300 boats with the society and as soon as the fishermen saw the boats drifting away, they chased them in smaller boats.

"Considering the heavy tidal waves and gusty winds, they couldn't go far away. However they managed to save 2-3 small boats, as of now many boats are still missing and we will be able to analyse the exact figures of loss not before tomorrow," he said.

Fishermen, who park their boats at the Haji Ali creek, blamed the ongoing coastal road project for their losses rather than the cyclone. The fishermen said, due to the reclamation works, their original hangar for parking the boats has been destroyed and the area where they park their boats now, don't have safety measures.

"After the warning was issued we asked the engineers if we can temporarily park the boat on the reclaimed land, however the engineers present there had denied our requests," said Allaudin Niyaz Khan, a fisherman at Haji Ali.

Khan said there are more than 40-50 families who are solely dependent on fishing. He said till Monday afternoon as many as 12-15 boats either went partially missing or got damaged.

"We didn't just lose the boats, all our fishing nets and equipment were also kept inside the boat and everything got washed away due to the tidal waves," he said.

Fishermen of the Khar Danda Jetty jetty said that as many as 20 small boats have sinked in the water with five to six boats still missing by Monday afternoon.

"We had 30-40 boats parked at the shallow waters out of which many small boats have got sunk under water, some of the boats have been partially damaged while the remaining of them are still missing," said Chintamani Niwate - member of the community.

Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale visited the affected fisherfolk at Trombay and Mahul Koliwada and inspected their losses due to the cyclone. Shewale took to his Twitter and announced that he had demanded compensation from the state government for the fishermen.

"I have demanded the state government to compensate for the loss of the fishermen, whose boats and houses got destroyed in the cyclone," Shewale tweeted.

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