Chennai: They were one of the loyal votebanks of J. Jayalalithaa. The fishermen community fondly remembers her as ‘messiah’, who emancipated them from poverty and provided them with a roof over their head.
“She was always doing good for her people. During the 45 days when fishermen are not allowed to go in the sea, we used to get paid Rs 2,000. She had introduced many such schemes to make our lives easier,” said K. Dhesamma.
“Like Amma did for us, the new government should not only earn money but also work for benefit of the people.” “She gave us these houses and we just have to pay Rs 50 as rent. She also increased the ex-gratia amount for families of fishermen, who died at sea,” said A. Jyothi, adding that she could afford schools, uniforms, and books of her children due to her ‘Amma.’
Jayalalithaa’s move to ensure that fishermen, who were not able to go out to the sea during the ban period or due to inclement weather, ensured their livelihood remained unaffected. This was most appreciated by the fishermen community.
“From Chennai Port during this rainy season, we are given an extra `1,000 – amounting to `5,000 – for not being able to go fishing,” said R Jalendran. He added that from the state and center they are given Rs 2,700 per year, which is also beneficial.
“We are helping the country in earning good revenue through exports so the government has been helping us. I only wish that good quality education for our kids is available as we want to see them move up the ladder than settle in the fishing community,” he added, noting that many of the young men from the community start helping their families in catching fish....