Mumbai: The Worli Koliwada area was the first to go 'under' after being declared a containment zone on March 29, when some residents tested positive for Covid-19. Though the area has been partially unsealed now, there is no respite for fishermen.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) notification of May 11 only allows five boats to venture into the sea daily and restricts fishermen in the 16 red zones from going to work. Besides this, the civic body has stipulated that their catch cannot be sold in the market but should be dried and sold only when the situation returns to normal.
Most of the fishermen are upset by these restrictions, as they reside in the16 red zones in Worli Koliwada. They are worried about how they will take care of their daily needs, as May has begun and in June, once the rains set in, they cannot venture into the sea for a while.
The Worli Koliwada Nakwa Masya Vyavsay Society Limited (fishermen's association) has demanded compensation from the government for the loss of business amid the lockdown. Nitesh Patil, secretary of this association said, "There are about 150 boats in Worli Koliwada alone.
Since the BMC is now permitting only five boats daily, who can go and who cannot? This will lead to fights amongst us as we are all equally affected. Therefore, we have demanded that all of us be permitted to venture into the sea because not all boats leave and return at same time. Moreover, we have less than a month left for business.
How are we going to survive? If they don't want us to go to sea, then every fisherman's family should be given Rs 15,000 per month as compensation until the lockdown is lifted." Another problem is that during the rainy season, when the seas are rough, fishermen must make frequent visits to check on their boats.
"If the boats are flooded with water due to rise in sea level, we remove this excess water, to prevent it from getting submerged or otherwise damaged. But, if the area remains sealed, how are we going to check on our boats this rainy season?" Patil questioned