July 14, 2021 3:05:39 am
THE STATE fisheries department has paid Rs12.6 crore in ex gratia to the fishermen of Saurashtra whose boats and fishing gears were damaged by cyclone Tauktae on May 17 this year but payment of maintenance to khalasis (men who work as crew on fishing boats) is yet to be done as they do not have bank accounts.
According to Fisheries Minister Jawahar Chavda, the survey by his department identified 1,199 boats that were damaged partially or fully and against that, owners of 1,134 boats have been paid compensation by the government.
“Of them, 131 were fully damaged and 1,003 were partially damaged. The government has released Rs 3.84 crore for fully-damaged boats and Rs 5.83 crore for partially-damaged boats. In addition, we have released Rs 2.53 towards ex gratia to 897 fishermen against damage to their fishing gears,” Chavda told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
The minister said that of the 1,134 damaged boats, 908 were from Jafrabad-Shiyal Bet and Chanch Bandar harbours in Amreli, the district affected the worst by cyclone. They include 127 fully damaged boats. Gir Somnath and Bhavnagar reported 188 and 38 damaged boats, respectively.
“In case of the remaining 65 partially-damaged boats, owners of 27 did not apply for seeking compensation and therefore, the government has not paid them. Owners of 38 other boats applied for compensation but their applications have been rejected as their boats had not set sail over the past two years,” the Minister said.
To help the fishermen get back on their feet, the state government had announced Rs105 crore relief package on June.
The relief package provided for paying ex gratia ranging from Rs 35,000 to Rs 5 lakh for damaged boats, up to Rs 35,000 for damaged fishing nets and other fishing gears as well as provisional amount of Rs 2,000 per fishermen who have lost their source of livelihood due to damaged boats as nibhav bhathhu (maintenance grant). The Minister said that the uptake in maintenance grant is much below expectations. “Our survey estimated that around 8,000 khalasis will be eligible for one-time maintenance grant of Rs 2000. However, only 1,956 khalasis have claimed it so far,” said Chavda.
Kanaiyalal Solanki, president of Kharva Samaj Machhimar Boat Association of Jafrabad, said the limited banking facilities in Jafrabad is an issue. “There is only one bank branch in Jafrabad and it is not able to cater to demands of the fishermen,” he said.
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