CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation to come up with an action plan for cleaning Marina Beach and nearby areas, including the Loop Road before December 17. A division bench comprising Justices Vineet Kothari and Anita Sumanth issued the directive while passing interim orders on a public interest litigation filed by Fisherman Care represented by its president LTA Peter Rayan.
Petitioner sought a directive to the Union and State governments jointly to pay a relief of `500 per day to fishermen families in the State for the entire fishing ban period of 61 days. At present, the fishermen are being paid `83 per day. The bench said the matter pertains to fishermen throughout the State, including those at Marina Beach, about which the court had already passed certain directions to the Commissioner of Chennai Corporation with regard to maintenance and cleaning of Marina Beach. “Suo motu, we direct impleadment of the Commissioner of Chennai Corporation as a respondent in the petition”, the bench added and issued the directive.
According to Peter Rayan, the petitioner, the state government in its policy note on fisheries for 2017-2018 has made the announcement that the fishing ban period has been increased from 45 days to 61 days from 2017 and existing fishing ban relief assistance of 2,000 has been enhanced to 5,000. Because of the increase in ban period, millions of fish workers across the nation will lose their livelihood for 61 days in a year. It was also a national loss and loss of foreign exchange, he said.
He said fishing ban period was a crucial period for fishermen children who desire to go for higher studies. The fish workers’ children will ill afford to pay for their studies. The fish workers’ livelihood being lost for 61 days, they have to depend on the money lenders for higher rates of interest post operational scenario which ends in disaster. The children forego their education. The authorities may well be within the bounds of imposing a ban, but at the same time they should ensure that it does not affect their livelihood, he added.