No takers for ice plants despite subsidy

No takers for ice plants despite subsidy

Fishermen cite lack of space, shortage of water, power as reason

Over the last four years, only 23 have taken the subsidy from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts for setting up ice plants. While most of the proposals sanctioned for Udupi district are for individuals, in Dakshina Kannada district, no individuals have taken the benefits. It is the organisations that have come forth to use the subsidy.

Of the 23, 19 individuals are from Udupi district while four organisations are from DK district. The four organisations are the Fish Marketing Federation, Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation, Yanthrika Fishermen Co-op Society and Trawl Boat Fishermen Co-operation.

Even this year, as many as 10 individuals have submitted applications under the programme while only two have come forth from DK district.

The fishermen leaders cite lack of availability of adequate place in the fishing hub in Mangalore to be the reason. The Bunder area is already suffocated. Further, availability of clean water in the area is also quite difficult. Moving far away from the fishing hub is not a wise move as it will increase the production cost, in terms of transportation etc. In such a case, individuals will find it to be a non-profitable venture to set up ice plants.

The department provides 50 per cent of the project cost for individuals or even group of fishermen, 75 per cent to the fisheries co-operative societies and 100 per cent for fish marketing federations and Fisheries Development Corporations.

“When the purse seine boats are on sail, we have huge demand for ice because the catch will be of huge quantity. Once the purse seine boats anchor, there will be hardly any demand for ice. Hence, for individuals, it is a risky venture,” says a fishermen busy piling the dry fish at old port.

He says that setting up ice units in this juncture when there is acute shortage of power supply can prove out to be a disaster for individuals.

Another fisherman says that it is better if Federations and Corporations and Co-operative handle ice production because it is these organisations which supply ice at a subsidized price while individually owned ice plants quote higher price to make profits.