SURESH GOLANI Bhayandar

The dry- fish sector, which is a major occupation and smallscale industry in villages in and around the coastal areas of Uttan near Bhayandar, is slowly dying a silent death allegedly due to the apathy of railway au

thorities.

Apart from more than 350 families traditionally engaged in the dry- fish business on a full time basis, many other small time traders who have migrated to the region have been eking out a livelihood through this profession.

Dry fish suppliers are totally dependent on the railway network to deliver their consignments to far off places like- Gorakhpur and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Manglore in Karnataka and Guwahati in Assam, at nominal and affordable freight rates levied directly by railway authorities. However, in order to make larger profits the railway authorities have started leasing out SLRs ( Second Class Luggage Room) of all the trains to private leaseholders.

” Earlier the luggage fair structure was pegged at Rs 4 to Rs 5 per kilogram for transporting the perishable consignment, but the now we have to shell out double of that amount charged by the private contractors, which we are not able to afford.” says, Nizammudin Khan a dry fish supplier from Uttan.

He added that, while big traders would not hesitate to pay higher charges to corner the available space, the contractors too preferred it.

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