There’s a professor in our department who used to teach us microprocessor. At the end of each topic he used to give a problem and would invariably ask,
“…How will you do that?” (forgot his lessons but could remember this words 😛 )
Recently, I observed something which reminded me of the words. No, it has nothing to do with our beloved professor or microprocessor. Two days back I was surfing through the 100 odd channels in the TV. Suddenly, I stumbled upon DD News. It was showing the sea. Being attracted by the scene I stopped by the channel. But afterwards what I found was really pathetic. The report was about the never-say-die followers of the sea, the fishermen. The festive days are knocking at the door. Come next weekend and our enjoyment will see no bound and undoubtedly eating to our heart’s content during these days will be a major activity and quite naturally fish delicacies will be a part of that. But unfortunately, the people who are providing us with the fishes really find it hard to maintain a livelihood. The report showed the terrible plight of the fishermen.
To meet the demand of the market and to earn a living they had to leave for the sea in the darkness of the night with the hope of getting a good catch. Once they would go sailing for 4-5 days and return with a good yield that could fetch them a good price. But times have changed and their conditions have declined greatly due to several factors. Firstly, there is the rapid depletion of fishes due to industrial pollution and violation of coastal zonal regulations. As a result the fishes do not come to the shallow waters that affect their catch.
Adding to their woos are the mechanized fishing trawlers operating with valid licences under the country’s Deep Sea Fishing Policy (DSFP). Though there are regulations that prohibit the mechanized boats plying upto 8 kms from the coastline, the fishermen from Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh say they face continuous risk from the trawlers that injuriously topple their boats or drag their nets. Overfishing is a countrywide phenomenon that the traditional fishermen’s society from from Gujarat to West Bengal are agitating. Despite the government prohibiting fishing during the monsoon period the trawlers carry on fishing destroying the eggs.
Apart from that the price of diesel is increasing every year pushing up the cost of going out to the sea. The cost of a 4-day long expedition turns out to be more than anything one makes on the fishing market.
All these negative factors have resulted in a steep decline in the income of the traditional fishermen. On a good day they may earn about Rs.100, generally less. There are circumstances when they cannot go to the sea. But in spite of that they risk their lives and in several situations end up losing their lives. Most of them don’t even have insurance policies, leaving their families with no source of income. Hunger and starvation are the regular visitors to their household. The people who are providing with nutritious elements are suffering from malnutrition. One Karseri Narayan Chavanker says,
“ The government recently announced a $15 billion package to the agricultural industry in response to a spate of suicides by farmers who were unable to pay off the bank loans. Our situation is no different from that of the farmers.”
Though the state governments of West Bengal and Kerala have taken good measures to uplift their conditions, the fishermen from other states are really in deplorable conditions. It seems that the circular flow of income does follow their paths. The Indian government has promoted the deep sea activities for foreign exchange earnings, also there are coastal industrial corridors, sand-mining industries coming up but the plight of these poor traditional fishermen seemed to have been forgotten.
On watching the report I was really feeling bad and thinking that there should a solution for their miseries when suddenly I felt those words…
“…how will you do that?”
Really these words are finding its true significance. These are the words which the governments should ask themselves in order to find solution for the upliftment of the fishermen when George, Chavanker, Ali Dasu and many of their fishermen brothers in search of their income and food for their starving children ask to themselves,
….HOW WILL YOU DO THAT ?
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