CHENNAI: As Tamil Nadu braces for another cyclonic storm, the fishermen who are still grappling with the aftermath of Nivar, are seeing a murky future. “I don’t even know how will I afford the online school fees of my children. Let alone the monthly groceries and proper food,” says A Soundar, head of Kasimedu fishing union.
“More than 1,000 key boats (visai padagu) and close to 4,000 fibre boats have not ventured into the sea across Royapuram coast post Nivar. Among them, 30 boats were badly damaged during the cyclone, but we have not received any compensation. If the boat does not go to the sea we lose `500 to `1,000 a day,” adds Sounder.This not an isolated case as the fishermen of Kasimedu, Santhome and Ennore share the same plight.
Looking at his damaged boat, Sathish Kumar, a fisherman from Nadukuppam wonders how long he has to be at the shore. “This boat was damaged during Nivar. And now, December too looks unfavourable for business. We lost livelihood during the pandemic too and now meeting our regular expenditure is only getting tougher,” he says.
Only, a disaster relief allowance from the government can help us now, says S Kumar, a fisher from Santhome. “Ever since March, we are fighting to make ends meet,” he rues.
However, for a few fishers like M Raja, there is still a silver lining. “Heavy rains may turn favourable as this is an ideal condition for prawns to breed,” says the fisherman from Ennore who would usually fish along the Ennore and Pulicat Estuary.
“Covid has given us a huge blow economically and now a few fishers here tested positive, complicating the situation further. We only hope that the year ends in a better way,” he adds.