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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Cyclone Tauktae aftermath: Gujarat announces Rs 105 cr relief package for fishing community

The package was announced after meeting of government’s core committee chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
Updated: June 3, 2021 4:20:47 am
Fishermen check their damaged boat at a shore of the Arabian Sea, after Cyclone 'Tauktae' made landfall, near Una Town in Gir Somnath district, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (PTI Photo)

More than two weeks after cyclone Tauktae ravaged southern coast of Gujarat’s Saurashtra, damaging around 1,000 fishing boats and harbour infrastructure, the state government on Wednesday announced Rs105 crore relief package for the fishing community.

The package was announced after meeting of government’s core committee chaired by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gandhinagar. Of the Rs105 crore, Rs25 crore has been earmarked for immediate relief to fishermen for repairing their boats and fishing gears as well as to support them financially when they are unable to do fishing.

The balance Rs 80 crore is for creating new infrastructure as well as restoring damaged infrastructure in Jafrabad, Shiyal Bet harbours in Amreli district and Saiyad Rajpara and Nava Bandar fishing harbours in Gir Somnath district. “The core committee did a comprehensive review of damage caused to agriculture, horticulture as well as sagarkhedu (fishermen) recently by cyclone Tauktae and announced a generous relief-compensation package worth Rs105 crore to help fishermen get back on their feet and to put the fishing industry back on track,” an official release said.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Energy Minister Saurabh Patel, Fisheries Minister Jawahar Chavda, Gujarat chief secretary Anil Mukim, CM’s chief principal secretary K Kailashnathan; Pankaj Kumar, additional chief secretary (revenue department); Nalin Upadhyay, secretary in the department of fisheries and animal husbandry and DP Desai, fisheries commissioner.

“Around 1,000 boats, small and large, have been damaged in the state due to cyclone Tauktae and the government will pay fishermen Rs 25 crore compensation,” the release quoted CM Vijay Rupani as saying.

Talking to The Indian Express after the meeting, minister Chavda said that there are around 29,000 registered fishing boats in Gujarat and of them, around 20,000 are active. He added that cyclone Tauktae, which made landfall between Una in Gir Somnath and Jafrabad in Amreli on May 17, damaged around five per cent of active boats, pegging total damage to
fishermen at around Rs 57 crore.

The package includes ex gratia ranging from Rs 35,000 to Rs 5 lakh for damaged boats, up to Rs 35000 for damaged fishing nets and other fishing gears as well as provisional amount of Rs 2,000 per fishermen who lost their livelihood.

The government will pay Rs 35,000 or 50 per cent of damage, whichever is lower, in case of partially-damaged small fishing boats or outboard motor boats. In case of completely damaged small boats, the government would pay Rs 75,000 or 50 per cent of the market value of the boat.

In cases of partially damaged trawlers, dolnetters and gillnetters, the government would pay 50 per cent of the damage caused or up to Rs 2 lakh, whichever is lower. The compensation for completely damaged trawlers, dolnetter and gillnetters would be 50 per cent of the market value of the boat or Rs 5 lakh, whichever is lower.

The government would also give 10 per cent interest subvention for two years to fishermen who avail loans worth up to Rs 10 lakh for repairing their completely damaged large boats or Rs 5 lakh loan to repair their partially damaged large boats, the release added.

Aquaculture farmers will be paid Rs 82,000 subsidy per hectare, Chavda said. The package also provides for expanding the existing jetty at Jafrabad and constructing a new 500-metre long jetty, a wharf wall with parking facility in Lal Batti area, as well as to create parking area in T-jetty area. In Shiyal Bet, Saiyad Rajpara and Nava Bandar, damaged harbour infrastructure will be repaired.

The Minister said that that while the survey was still going on, as per provisional figures, the cyclone damaged 187 OBM boats and 807 large boats.

“Estimated market value of each of the 994 boats, which have been surveyed so far, has been indented in consultation with their owners and fishermen leaders,” the Minister said adding that the infrastructure component in the package was decided in consultation with the fishermen.

Welcoming the package, Kanaiyalal Solanki, president of Kharva Samaj Machhimar Boat Association of Jafrabad, said, “Something is better than nothing. The government could have allotted more for immediate relief to fishermen rather than spending big on infrastructure. But we welcome the package.”

Bharat Kamaliya, a fishermen leader of Saiyad Rajpara, had a different opinion. “The package has nothing for fishermen who have lost their huts and household articles. Rs 2,000 ex gratia is peanuts as steel roof of hut costs up to Rs 15,000,” he said.

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