THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as fruit and vegetable sellers have easy access to markets, small-scale fish vendors continued to be denied entry. The fish workers maintain that there are no clear-cut instructions whether the small-scale fish vendors can do business or not, even though they fall under essential services. This has led to a situation when the women would be driven away by police from markets. Meanwhile, many large-scale vendors are doing business without hindrance.
Fisherwomen from Adimalathura and Pulluvila are allowed to sell fish outside the market and they follow social distancing too. Aat some point the crowd gets bigger and the police will be driving the customers and the sellers away, before they could even get the price of the fish they sold.
“The police manage crowds at bank and at some shops, yet when it comes to fisherwomen, the authorities have double standards. They are paving way for large-scale vendors to sell rotten fish brought from other states. The government also needs to specify the restrictions when it comes to fishing community. As far as we know, only the fishing auction is banned as of now as it creates larger crowds.
The women who carry fish on their heads to the markets near the coast are mostly the breadwinner of their families. They don’t have pensions and even for the ones who do have pension, the money will not be enough to make both ends meet,” said T Peter, general secretary, National Fishworkers Forum.
The plight of woman fisher sellers is the same in Pettah, Palayam and Poovar. “We travel kilometres on foot to sell the fish. We don’t go from house to house anymore because of the restrictions. Our family will be hungry if we cannot sell the fish we buy after loaning money from the agents. We need immediate help from the authorities,” said a fisherwoman.