COVID leaves fishing communities in troubled waters
Life has been a big struggle since the imposition of the lockdown for the fishing communities across Chennai. “Sec.144 is the imposition of a curfew on land. How does it apply for us fishermen who are always in sea,” asks Palayan, a resident of Urur Olcott Kuppam. While logically true, nonetheless, the government has banned all fishing activities in the state.
“The government says that people can buy basic necessities, but where is the money to buy the necessities? We are unable to go into the sea and earn our livelihood. Families want to pledge jewellery to buy rations, but that also we are not able to do. The pawnshops are closed and the police are not letting them open. It is a disappointing situation indeed,” says Saravanan, from Urur Olcott Kuppam.
Saravanan goes on to explain that distance can still be maintained while they fish and bring the catch to shore but the officials are not convinced. He adds that they also plan to send a letter to the ministers through WhatsApp for a resolution to their situation.
Living right in front of the seas, it has been very hard for the men not to venture out. “Families are in crisis. The men are just waiting to go back to the seas and earn a living,” explains Palayan.