Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday announced a slew of measures to rehabilitate members of the fishing community who lost their livelihood to the ship building yard that is nearing completion at Kattupalli, north of Chennai. The measures envisaged jobs for hundreds of local residents and also the setting up of training facilities that would equip more people with skills for jobs at the ship building yard.
The Chief Minister’s announcements were the outcome of a meeting held on January 1 to discuss the situation based on persistent representations made by the local fishing community. The meeting had the participation of fishing community leaders, representatives from engineering giant Larsen & Toubro, which was jointly undertaking the project with Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO).
Jayalalithaa announced that TIDCO would liaise between L&T and the fishing community to ensure smooth implementation of all promises made. Noting that 220 fishermen who lost their livelihood had already been given jobs, she said that L&T had agreed to give 120 jobs immediately to local residents. While 60 of them would be employed right away, another 60 would be given training for three months. Those undergoing training would be given a stipend of `6,000 per month, of which 75 per cent would be borne by the State government.
Jayalalithaa also announced that the State government would take steps to create enough training infrastructure at Kattupalli in three months. These facilities would be used to train 600 members drawn from 15 fishing hamlets around Pazhaverkadu, whose fishing operations had been affected by the construction of the ship yard.
The government had also said it would train 900 more people from the fishing community in pisciculture and tourism related skills, and use government agencies to employ them in the sectors close to Pazhaverkadu.