Damaged Kasimedu wharf gets repaired

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The ever-bustling Kasimedu fishing harbour in the city is quiet due to the 45-day ban on fishing, but the renovation work of the wharf, a fixed platform over water used for anchoring shipping vessels apart from loading and unloading fishes, is going in full steam.

“We have vacated and handed over about 200 metres of the wharf to the contractors. They have demolished it and are building it new,” said M. E. Raghupathi, president of Chennai Mechanised Boat Fishermen Welfare Association.

With only catamarans and outboard engine boats allowed to enter sea, activities at the harbour especially during early hours have been drastically reduced. “We are only doing maintenance work of our boats and fishing nets and so it is easier to do the wharf repair work now,” Mr Raghupathi added.

South India Fishermen’s Welfare Association president K. Bharathi said the wharf had been in dire straits since the 2004 tsunami and recently the government took some steps to improve the conditions.
“We have been struggling for long.

Three lives have been lost in the last three years due to poor conditions in wharf. We hope the repair work will get finished soon,” he said, adding that the repair work soon after the tsunami was done in a haphazard manner.

The current project has been undertaken at the cost of `17 crore with funding from National Fisheries Development Board and Chennai Port Trust.

While about 700 metre wharf area that includes the auction hall would be re-built, the project is also expected to provide basic amenities like drinking water, cold storage and toilet blocks at the fishing harbour.

About 1,500 fishing vessels, small, big, single-engine, double-engine, fiber boats and catamarans are operated from this harbour, handling about one lakh tonne of fishes including seer, pomfret, prawn, shark, sardine, crab, silverbellies, carangids and mackerel.

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