PORBANDAR: ‘Vikas’ (development) seems to have evaded Porbandar, the land of Mahatma Gandhi. The fishing community is seething with anger against the Central and state governments for ignoring their problems for long, and youngsters say they have no job opportunities and are struggling to make both ends meet.
The port city speaks a story of utter neglect.
“Compare Porbandar with other parts of Gujarat and it becomes crystal clear that except for assurances during elections, nothing happens. Look at the last five years; we have been begging the government to come to our rescue and solve our problems, but all our pleas went unheard,” says Arvind, a fisherman.
“The government has not taken up dredging works on the seashore, which forces fishermen to go deeper into the sea and many end up being caught by Pakistani maritime authorities. Close to 500 fishermen are languishing in Karachi jails and 1,110 boats are in their custody,” says Manish Lodhari, secretary of the National Fish-workers’ Forum.
The majority of fishermen say they are angry with the BJP, and they see a ray of hope in Rahul Gandhi. “Rahul has visited us a few times and has assured us that he will have a fisheries ministry for the welfare of fishermen,” says Vineel Chauhan, a local.