Kerala's Muthalapozhi harbour claims another life as boat capsizes; fishermen demand action

The bottleneck at the harbour, which was allegedly due to faulty construction, has been termed by the fishermen as the main reason for all the accidents.
Muthalapozhi mishap victim, Victor
Muthalapozhi mishap victim, VictorPhoto | Special Arrangement

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Another life got smothered at Muthalapozhi when a fishing boat returning to the harbour capsized in the channel after being battered by huge waves in the wee hours of Thursday.

The deceased has been identified as Victor, a resident of Anchuthengu. He was on board with three others when the mishap occurred by 1.30 am.

The rest of the men managed to swim to safety.

The boat is owned by an Anchuthengu native. The body has been shifted to the hospital.

Muthalapozhi has seen about a dozen accidents so far this year of which four have died. The bottleneck at the harbour, which was allegedly due to faulty construction, has been termed by the fishermen as the main reason for all the accidents.

Muthalapozhi mishap victim, Victor
One fisherman dead, three others injured after boat capsizes at Muthalapozhi in Kerala

As per unofficial reports, around 77 fishermen have lost their lives at the Muthalapozhi Harbour in the past eight to nine years. As many as 25,000 fishermen from the region depend on the harbour for daily livelihood.

Muthalapozhi mishap victim, Victor
Political stirrings force state government to act on Muthalapozhi

Despite the growing number of accidents and deaths, the state government and the departments concerned, including the harbour engineering department and the fisheries department, have failed to come up with effective solutions to make the harbour - which generates huge revenues for the government - safer for fishermen.

Muthalapozhi mishap victim, Victor
Muthalapozhi harbour: Fisheries department moots temporary shutdown

According to fishermen, apart from studies and reports, nothing has happened on the ground to make the harbour safer. In a recent development, the fisheries department has suggested the closure of the Muthalapozhi harbour temporarily for two months during the peak monsoon to avoid accidents and fatalities of fishermen.

164-crore project yet to get approval from union government

The state government had roped in Pune-based Central Water and Power Research Station to conduct a detailed study of the situation at Muthalapozhi harbour and come up with solutions.

The agency proposed a Rs 164-crore project, including the extension of the breakwater at Muthalapozhi.

Though the state government submitted the report to the Centre for approval under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme, no response has been forthcoming.

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