SRIKAKULAM: Fishermen in the Titli-devastated coastal villages are on the verge of migration. With no alternative livelihood in sight, majority of the cyclone-hit fishermen are planning to migrate to Maharashtra, Gujarat and other States in search of a livelihood. The cyclonic winds had damaged 80 per cent of boats, fishing nets and other equipment in the coastal district, leaving the fishermen jobless. In fact, the seacoast is now resembling the fishing ban period.
“Only 10 to 12 fishing boats have started venturing into the sea from the 25 fishermen villages in Ichchapuram segment,’’ said Maddu Raja Rao, a fisherman from Ramayyapatnam village of Sompeta mandal. Around 150 families stay in Ramayyapatnam village where six mechanised boats and 10 small boats were damaged by the cyclone.
“We are jobless after the cyclone. Majority of the coastal villages may wear a deserted look in the next two months under the impact of migration,’’ Maddu predicts. “We are planning to migrate to other States as we had lost our boats and nets,’’ rued Batti Sundara Rao and Nitta Nageswara Rao, residents of Ramayyapatnam. Only middle aged women and elderly people will remain in the fishermen villages, they opined.The situation is no different in other villages.
“Around 1,200 people live in my village, M Sunnapalli of Santabommali mandal, where 12 mechanised boats and 18 small boats including nets were damaged by the cyclone,’’ said B Prakash, a fisherman from M Sunnapalli, adding that migration to other areas is the only option left for them now. Almost 80 per cent of the boats and nets in the village were damaged.
“Nearly a year ago, almost all the boats were damaged by gales, registering an estimated loss of `1 crore,’’ he rued. Majority of the villagers are taking loans from others for survival even as the State government is providing relief materials to them. The government is providing rice and other essential commodities, but with no income sources in sight, fishermen from the village are trying to migrate looking for employment as daily wagers, he added.
Responding to the issue, Fisheries department Deputy Director VV Krishna Murthy said around 4,200 units including mechanised boats, traditional boats and nets were damaged in the district. “The government has decided to give `1 lakh for the loss of big boats and `10,000 for traditional boats and `10,000 for net. An amount of `2,000 would be paid for partial damage of nets,’’ Murthy said.
Fishermen, however, said the `10,000 ex gratia announced by the government will not be sufficient for them either to get their boats repaired or buy a new one.
`53.55 cr loss
The fishermen in the district suffered an estimated loss of `53.55 crore due to cyclone Titli. “We have started distribution of essential commodities and other necessary materials. We have written to higher officials, seeking a grant of `8.16 crore for the relief works,” said Fisheries department Deputy Director VV Krishna Murthy.