Chennai: The Madras high court has directed the commissioner of Chennai corporation to file counter affidavit with the action plan for cleaning up Marina beach and nearby areas including the Loop road, before December 17.
A division bench comprising Justices Vineet Kothari and Anita Sumanth gave the directive while passing interim orders on a public interest litigation filed by Fisherman Care represented by its president L.T.A.Peter Rayan.
In his PIL, Peter Rayan sought a direction to the Union and state governments to jointly pay a relief amount of Rs 500 per day to the fisherman families in the state for the entire fishing ban period of 61 days.
The bench said since the matter pertains to fishermen of through out the state including fishermen at Marina beach, Chennai, about which this court has already passed certain directions to the commissioner of Chennai corporation with regard to maintenance and cleaning of Marina beach. “Suo motu we direct impleadment of the Commissioner of Chennai Corporation as a Respondent in the petition”, the bench added and gave the above directive.
According to petitioner, the state government in its policy note of fisheries for the year 2017-2018 has made the announcement that the fishing ban period has been increased from 45 days to 61 days from 2017 and existing fishing ban relief assistance of Rs 2,000 has been enhanced to Rs 5,000. Because of the increase in ban period, millions of fish workers across the nation will lose their livelihood for 61 days in a year. It was also a national loss and loss of foreign exchange, he added.
He said fishing ban period was a crucial period for the children of all who desire to go for higher studies. The fish workers’ children will be ill afford to pay for their studies. The fish workers’ livelihood being lost for 61 days, they have to depend on the money lenders for higher rates of interest post operational scenario which ends in disaster. The children forego their education and family land in ruins. The payment of loan to the shark becomes their prime consideration and alas their future remains at stake, generation after generation. The authorities may be well within the bounds of imposing a ban, but at the same time they should ensure that it does not affect their livelihood, he added.
He said there were no alternative employment opportunities in coastal areas during the fishing ban period and in such circumstances the relief amount given to fish workers for 61 days which was only Rs 5,000 was a meager amount and was insufficient to run their families for 61 days. Paying Rs 83 per day during the seasonal fishing ban period was insufficient to meet the cost of living as on date. A family cannot meet their daily basic essentials with Rs 83. A menial worker was getting a daily minimum wage of Rs 500 and above, he pointed out.