Cong leaders visit coastal town: 200 boats damaged, Jafrabad fishermen count their losses
As more roads were restored in Amreli district on Wednesday, opposition leader Paresh Dhanani and fellow Congressman Ambarish Der traveled to Jafrabad, the coastal town near Una, where the extremely violent cyclone Tauktae made landfall on Monday and Tuesday night. While the majority of fishermen were busy adjusting their boats and fishing gear properly, a few could show the two congressional leaders only the wreckage of their boats.
When Danani and Der arrived, they were led near the bridge across the port of Jafrabad. A dozen boats were trapped under the bridge, many of them having been overturned. Seven other boats were on the other side of the bridge after Cyclone Tauktae pushed them through the bridge structure while touching land, fishermen told visitors.
The scenes were worse behind the Kharva Samaj crematorium. Near a few barges, tugs and a huge dredge was the wreckage of a few fishing trawlers. “This engine is the only trace of my fishing boat. For me, everything is destroyed. Hanging myself is the only option for me now, ”Ismile Napali (58) told Dhanani as the latter inspected the wreckage of the fishing boat Al Faiz.
Dhanani comforted the fisherman: “Do not be discouraged. Together we will do something. We will fight for relief. “
“I had borrowed Rs2 lakh to repair my boat. But now the boat is gone and with it the source of our livelihood. These barges, tugs and dredges broke my boat in three, ”Napali later told the Indian Express.
Kanaiyala Solanki, chairman of the Kharva Samaj Macchimar Boat Association, said of around 700 fishing boats, 200 had been damaged while eight in 10 could not be found. “Of the 200 boats, 150 are total losses while 50 are repairable. The loss for the fishermen of Jafrabad is around Rs300 crore, ”Solanki said, adding that at least three fishermen died during the storm.
Bhavesh Baraiya (30) and his older brother Mahesh were furious as they pointed to a tug blocking access to their fishing trawler Jamnaprasad.
“These barges, tugs and dredges were anchored at the mouth of the port. But they shouldn’t have been there, as problems were expected due to the cyclone, ”said Mahesh.
Solanki said fishermen in Shiyal Bet were the most affected. “The Lal Batti part of the harbor where they anchor their boats faces out to sea and is therefore exposed to strong winds and tidal waves. Of their 150 boats, around 100 were damaged, ”Solanki said, adding:“ It will take up to 10 years for the fishermen in Jafrabad to recover. “
Meanwhile, dozens of fishermen have come to Solanki to complain about the theft of equipment. “People who are not fishermen steal batteries, inverters, etc. on unsupervised boats. We will report this to the police, ”Solanki said, while telling fishermen that the Prime Minister had carried out an aerial survey of Jafrabad and that he expects the government to compensate the fishermen. While Dhanani represents Amreli constituency, Der is a Member of Parliament for Rajula which includes Jafrabad.
“Jafrabad is known by the Bombay Duck fish which is eaten after drying in the sun. Every August our catches are damaged by rain while being dried in the sun. The government never pays us any compensation although farmers are compensated for crop losses. We are also sagakhedu, farmers who make a living by fishing. If the government does not compensate for our losses suffered as a result of the cyclone, we will stop participating in the elections, ”added Bhavesh.
Meanwhile, residents said the municipality of Jafrabad had not distributed water for the past three days. “Fortunately, there is potable water in a well on the Kana Ata farm field and a diesel pump to pump water from this well,” said Fazal Kadri, a fisherman who volunteered to provide water to the people of Jafrabad.