SRIKAKULAM: The fisheries department is fighting a storm of its own what with the severe staff crunch the department is suffering from, adding to its existing woes of not having paid compensation to the victims for the cyclones that occurred in the last two years. Moreover, rice meant to be distributed during the 45-day fishing holiday during April-May also did not reach the fishermen till now.
The fishermen who suffered losses in Phailin and Neelam cyclones that ravaged the district last year and the year before respectively are yet to get the compensation promised to them. A total of 3,837 persons in 66 villages of 10 mandals suffered huge losses. A memorandum was submitted to the government seeking `1.36 crore compensation. However, no funds have been released in this regard so far, with sources attributing the lag to the delay of the district authorities concerned in sending the list of beneficiaries to the government.
On the other hand, the period between April 15 to May 31 is declared a fishing holiday every year. During this period, 4,574 fishermen families in 12 mandals were promised to be provided with 31 kg of rice each, but four months after the annual ban on fishing has been lifted, the rice is yet to reach them. An amount of `25.87 lakh was sanctioned for 141.794 tonnes of rice, but the officials said that the elections, followed by the state division had delayed rice distribution and claimed that it would be done soon.
Senior officials in the fisheries department blame manpower shortage for the appalling delay in executing these works. As of now, just 31 staff members against the requirement of 61 are working in the fisheries department of Srikakulam, thus deepening the crisis.
While field development officers (FD) are needed at Srikakulam, Ranasthalam and Palakonda, the FDO working at Palakonda was deputed to Hyderabad. One superintendent, one fisherman and one field man posts are vacant at each centre.
Loss in Srikakulam Dist:
A memorandum was submitted to the government seeking `1.36 crore compensation - `29,000 for five villages in Etcherla, `3.65 lakh for four villages in Polaki, `4.65 lakh for 10 villages in Santabommali, `9.86 lakh for nine villages in Gaara, `13.65 lakh for three villages in Vajrapukotturu, `41,000 for four villages in Mandasa, `18.26 lakh for 10 villages in Sompeta, `41.19 lakh for nine villages in Kaviti, `42.93 lakh for three villages in Echchapuram, `1.70 lakh for two villages in Srikakulam.