Won't let Kanyakumari shank divers to operate in Thoothukudi sea: Locals

"The court order has favoured Kanyakumari shank divers, but we won't allow them to venture into the sea," said traditional fishermen from Trespuram.

Published: 11th January 2023 05:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2023 05:20 AM   |  A+A-

Representational image. (Photo | P Jawahar, EPS)

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI: In the backdrop of a court order allowing shank divers from other districts to venture into the sea from Thoothukudi, the local shank divers said this ruling will lead to law and order problems. "The court order has favoured Kanyakumari shank divers, but we won't allow them to venture into the sea," said traditional fishermen from Trespuram.

After a section of boat owners deployed divers from Kanniyakumari for shank fishing in Thoothukudi, the local fishermen had taken exception to it claiming that "outsiders were eating into their job opportunities". This issue simmered within the fishing community for several months, and later snowballed into clashes both at sea and shore between the conch divers hailing from Kanniyakumari and Thoothukudi districts. Some fishermen had also snapped the oxygen tubes of divers, while the latter were combing in the sea. Subsequently, the police registered three FIRs against two dozen of fishermen.  

During a peace meeting held on December 12, the sub-collector ordered that Kanniyakumari conch divers will not be allowed to venture into the sea from Thoothukudi, portending that a prolonged legal battle was in the offing. Meanwhile, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court ordered that the decision taken during the peace meeting was bereft of any legal validity. "I make it clear that none of the official respondents will aid in enforcing the impugned decision. If, of course, any law and order problem arises, it is open to the police authorities to intervene," read the order.

Firstly, the court order should be properly explained to the fishermen, said Parambariya Sangu Kulipor Sangam president Senthil Kumar. "We will surely stop Kanniyakumari fishermen from carrying out shank collection until the district administration takes a proper decision on the matter. If they are allowed to come here and operate, the Thoothukudi fishers also should be allowed to collect shanks from places like Tiruchendur, Inayam and Vaniyakudi in Kanniyakumari district," he said.

The secretary of the association, Allaudin, expressed fear of the shank resources getting overexploited if outsiders are allowed entry. "Citing the court order, several hundreds of divers may march into Trespuram from Kanniyakumari. We need to protect the shank resources considering our own divers' livelihoods," he said. The fishermen have urged the district administration to intervene in the issue.


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