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Kerala: Chinese fishing net operators fall on hard times, decry apathy by John L. Paul September 14,2021   |  Source: The Hindu

Seventy-year-old Kunjappan pointed to a wooden stump on the famed Fort Kochi beachfront, the sole remnant of a massive Chinese fishing net he owned till a few years ago. This and many other Chinese nets that still proudly adorn tourism brochures about Kochi would still have been operational, if Kerala Tourism’s Rs.2.44-crore long-overdue project to help renovate the nets using lengthy teak and Kalasanthi wood logs had materialised. “I began pulling the cantilever nets in 1965. Inadequate government support and sea erosion due to dredging of the shipping channel resulted in the number of nets dwindling from 25 to eight during the past three decades. Much of the delay in kick-starting renovation work could have been avoided if Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO), the implementing agency to whom the Kerala Tourism handed over half the project cost, had been proactive in sourcing lengthy teak logs [which constitute the cantilever frame of the nets] from the Forest Department,” Kunjappan said. Many of the iconic nets withered away or were dismantled, since net operators found it tough to procure teak wood on their own to replace the worn-out logs. In addition, the tough grind involved in six people having to pull the nets simultaneously, be it rain

 

© 2021, THG PUBLISHING PVT LTD.

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)