PUDUCHERRY: It has been a decade since the tsunami struck, but images of the giant killer wave still persist in the memories of people here. In the years since, fishermen are gradually moving away to alternate professions, in what has now become a trend.
A good number of them have already shifted to professions like autorickshaw driving, shops, real estate and travels business, says Kumar (39), a former fishermen from Ganapathychettikulam, who is now an autorickshaw driver.
Fear of the sea, diminishing catch and insufficient revenue has led to fishermen shying away. “After risking our lives by venturing into the sea and the hard work involved, the income is insufficient. Is it worth it?” asks Kumar, who was at sea when the tsunami struck. Two years back, he purchased a share auto by taking a bank loan of `1 lakh and pitched in another `1 lakh from his savings. Today, he ferries fishermen from Kalapet.
Following his footsteps, another 12 youth have started operating share autos. “On an average, we make `500 to `1000 a day, without the risks of the sea,” he says.
According to him, the strength of fishermen has halved over the years. This is expected to come down further in the next generation as fishermen families are educating their children. Today, families are also encouraging their children to pursue alternate professions and are not hesitant to shell out huge sums to put their children in private schools, he observes. Praveen, a Class V boy, wants to be an engineer, while Yeshwant, a Class VI student wants to be a policeman. Punitha Mary and Stephen Jude have completed their UG in Viscom and are now pursuing Masters in Mass Communication.