Fishermen dread dredger, demand removal

Residents of Guddekopla and Doddakopla villages alleged that dredger Bhagavati Prem, that was beached by tugs belonging to New Mangalore Port (NMP), was posing threat to traditional fishermen.

The dredger is owned by Mumbai-based Mercator Limited and was beached to the coast, near Surathkal, on October 28, after it begun drifting.

Keshava Kunder, president of Guddekopla Mogaveera Sangha, told mediapersons at Patrika Bhavan on Monday that there was a threat of oil spill which would lead to pollution.

‘Negative impact’

“The pollution will have a negative impact on the livelihood of traditional fishermen.”

“A memorandum was submitted by the Guddekopla Mogaveera Sangha and Doddakopla Mogaveera Mahasabha to deputy commissioner, new mangalore port trust (NMPT) and elected representatives to remove the dredger. The appeal has not received any response so far. We are worried about our livelihoods,” he stressed.

At least five to six vessels have sunk in the sea between Ullal and Surathkal coast in the past few years. However, these vessels are yet to be salvaged, he said.

Giridhar Kotian, president of Doddakopla Mogaveera Mahasabha, said the oil spillage from the dredger would destroy the marine ecology.

“This may force migration of fish to elsewhere, which will trigger crisis in the lives of fishermen. The discharge of lead, acid and oil from the dredger will also have an impact on the health of families staying close to the coast,” he said.

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