Mumbai's fishing community hit hard by lockdown

Mumbai, May 12 () The coronavirus-enforced lockdownhas severely affected Mumbai's fisher folk as many of themhave been rendered jobless and are finding it hard to sustaintheir livelihood since fish markets are lying closed.

Some of the busiest fish markets, including at theSassoon Dock in Colaba, Crawford Market in south Mumbai,Bhaucha Dhakka, or ferry wharf near the Dockyard, the Kasarafish market in neighbouring Thane and others, which used to bebustling with activity and business every day are shut.

Thousands of fishing boats are lying useless and thecommunity members are staring at a financial crisis.

The fish market at the Sassoon Dock alone used toclock a daily turnover of about Rs two crore, but is devoid ofbusiness activity these days.Advertisement

Over one lakh fishing community members, who werelargely dependent for their livelihood on fish sale at theSassoon Dock and other markets, are finding it difficult tosurvive.

Maharashtra Akhil Bhartiya Koli Mahasangh women's wingmember Naina Patil said over 20,000 women from the communitysell fish in the city to run their families.

"I also sell fish at the Kalina market. But in thewake of the lockdown, all markets are closed and ourbusinesses have stopped. We are now spending our savings tosurvive. If the markets open in future, from where will we getthe money to procure fish for sale."
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A few NGOs have come forward to help the fisher folkby providing them essential items, she said.

"But, this is not enough. We demand that the state andthe central government do something for us," Patil said.Akhil Maharashtra Macchimar Kruti Samiti presidentDamodar Tandel said all the major fish markets and 20 to 25fishing jetty points in the city are shut.Advertisement

He claimed the fisheries commissioner has laid someconditions for fishing to resume, which are not possible forthem to follow.

"Earlier, we used to earn about Rs 1,000 per day, butnow we are doing some odd jobs to survive as the fishingactivity has almost stopped," a fisherwoman said. ZAGK GK
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