The state government is preparing to implement schemes relating to the safety, security and hygiene of marine fishing boats over the next five years under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampad Yojana (PMMSY). As per the budget outlay, the government will provide subsidy to install bio-toilets and transponders in all 2,300 mechanised boats. Transponders would be also be fitted in all 25,000-odd motorised boats in the state.
“Normally, we have seen welfare schemes under PMMSY. But, recently the state government has announced the outlay of different projects to be undertaken under PMMSY in the next five years. It’s good to see that two projects pertaining to safety, security and hygiene of fishermen have also been included,” Arijili Dasu, a fishermen activist from Andhra Pradesh told Hello Vizag.
A survey conducted after the lockdown was eased revealed that all marine fishing boats in the state should be fitted with biotoilets. Meanwhile, the Union fisheries ministry is keen to install transponders in all marine fishing boats in the country following instances of fishing boats crossing Indian marine limits and drifting into foreign waters.
In October 2019, a boat from Visakhapatnam entered Bangladesh water and its eight crew members were arrested and spent four months in Bangladesh jail. In a similar incident in November 2019, two fishing boats from Gujarat had entered Pakistan’s waters and the 17 crew members on board—all from Andhra Pradesh—were lodged in a jail in Karachi till January 2020.
“BSNL would fit these transponders through which fishermen onboard would be in constant touch with marine forces, port officials, associations and owners back on land. A trial for these transponders was conducted in August 2020 in Visakhapatnam and it was successful,” a senior fisheries official told Hello Vizag.
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