As many as five fishermen living along Girgaum Chowpatty have got their licences back. The fishermen,whose licences were revoked by the Fisheries Department over three months ago,had on Wednesday made a request to minister Madhukar Chavan in this regard.
While their organisation,Maharashtra Machhimaar Vikas Sangh,claims that the livelihood of 41 fishermen families have been affected,the high power panel that directed the revocation of licences,maintained that the settlements were encroachments and they needed to be removed.
Vikas Sangh president Mahesh Tandel said the panel appointed for beautification of chowpatty had urged the collector and fisheries department to revoke the licences. They said they were concerned about the security of VIPs visiting the beach. They asked us to relocate to Mahim Bunder,which is already full. The families have lost their source of livelihood, he said.
As per a Bombay High Court order,there were about six fishermen who had the original right to carry out fishing in the area,but were not living on the beach.
Indrani Malkani,member of Malabar Hills Resident Association and member of the high power committee said there had been no fishing village along Girgaum chowpatty in the past.
Till 2001,there were only six licensed fishermen on this beach. All those who have come later have encroached the beach. It is common knowledge that a chowpatty is frequented by people from all strata of society and coastal security is of utmost importance, she said.