THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a move which could bring relief to hundreds of Ockhi victims, the government has finally decided to provide jobs to women who have crossed 40 years. According to officials, the dependents will be employed at a food processing unit which will be launched at Vizhinjam soon.
"The project will not only benefit the Ockhi victims but all the fisherwomen who have crossed the age of 40 years," said Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma. The unit is estimated to cost Rs 3 crore. "We are in the planning stage. We are yet to finalise the exact cost of the project. The unit will sell 'ready to cook' products. The fish will be cleaned, cut, packed and processed will be up for sale," said Krishan BTV chief engineer Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation who is in-charge of the project. “The facility can provide a job for nearly 250 people," he said.
The Society for Assistance to Fisherwomen (SAF) will be given the charge of the facility. "Another seafood restaurant which is run by SAF will also come up at Vizhinjam junction. The restaurant is part of a high-end tourism project," said Krishan BTV.
Activists and fishermen federations welcomed the initiative. However, some of them hinted doubts about the practicality of the project. The government has already provided jobs to 42 dependents at Muttathara fishnet factory. "However, only 34 of them are currently working as there are hurdles in transportation," said Thadeus Ponnayyan, coordinator of Thiruvananthapuram Matsya Thozhilali Forum.
Thadeus raised his concern over the 101 dependents who are not yet 40 years and those who have passed Class X as they are yet to be given jobs. "The food processing unit at Vizhinjam will help those who have crossed the age of 40. However, what about the promised jobs for those have qualification above Class X," asked Thadeus Ponnayyan.
According, to him the revenue department and fisheries department jointly collected the details of those dependents who are qualified above class X soon after the Ockhi tragedy but none of them have been employed so far.
Activists and fishermen federations welcomed the initiative. However, some of them hinted doubts about the practicality of the project. Thadeus raised his concern over the 101 dependents who are not yet 40 years as they are yet to be given jobs