Livelihood of around 30,000 traditional fishermen in 12 villages of Odisha’s Ganjam district has been threatened due to the creation of a sandbar on the channel connecting the fishing jetty at Arjeepalli.
A 300-metre-long and 100-metre-wide sandbar (plain area) has come up in the channel connecting the jetty and sea near Gopalpur port. It poses a barrier for the fishermen when they try to enter the sea, alleged B Simadri, president of Fish Workers Union, Ganjam.
He said the government was regularly dredging the area for convenience of local fishermen before handing over of the port to a private developer in 2007.
The dredging stopped after a year even though senior officials, including the fisheries secretary, were informed.
“We also moved the Fisheries Minister Pradeep Maharathy and Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahi,” he said.
He threatened to launch an agitation if the government does not solve the issue within a fortnight.
“We will be forced to launch an agitation, if the government fails to solve this long-standing demand of traditional fishermen,” said Simadri.
Due to livelihood issues, many fishermen are forced to migrate to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as migrant labourers. In-charge Additional Director of Fisheries (Marine) Ganjam Sarat Kumar Das said he would apprise the senior officials about the problems of fishermen after inspection of the site.