Mangalore Dec 26: Foundation stones were laid for a 30-tonne-capacity ice plant, ice manufacturing unit, cold storage and 'Rani' fish cutting unit while two high-mast lights with 12 luminaries each were dedicated for the benefit of fishermen at the fishing harbour here on Monday.
State Minister for Fisheries and Muzrai and District-in-Charge B Nagaraj Shetty, accompanied by MLA N Yogish Bhat laid the foundation stone for the different plants and inaugurated the lights.
The 30-tonne-capacity ice plant is being constructed under the aegis of Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation (KFDC) Ltd, while the ice manufacturing unit, cold storage and Rani fish cutting unit are being established by Mangalore Trawl Boat Fishermen Primary Co-operative Society.
The high-mast lights have been installed under the joint venture of Department of Fisheries and Metro Cash and Carry India.
The 30-tonne-capacity ice plant will be getting financial assistance from the Union government, which will be constructed with an estimated expenditure of Rs 50 lakh. The high-mast lights have been installed with an expenditure of Rs 9,64,700. The lights are located on poles of 20 mts height each, with 12 luminaries, 8 lights of 2x400 watt, four lights of 1x400 watt. Separate 'timers' have been set for each light. A total of 50 Lux of light is being spread on the place through these lights, enabling easier unloading and transportation of fish in the harbour.
Malpe and Mangalore Fishing Harbours Project Co-ordinator and KFDC Managing Director V K Shetty, MCC Corporator Sarala N Karkera, Mangalore Trawl Boat Fishermen Primary Co-operative Society President B Seetharam Suvarna, Metro Cash and Carry India (Bangalore) Corporate Communications Head Manish Bhargav were present.
'Experts' team to study reasons for decline in fish catch
State Minister for Fisheries and Muzrai and District-in-Charge B Nagaraj Shetty has assured that a team of experts comprising scientists and local fishermen leaders will be constituted to study the reasons behind the decline in fish catch in the coastal Karnataka.
Speaking after laying foundation stone for a 30-tonne-capacity ice plant, ice manufacturing unit, cold storage and 'Rani' fish cutting unit and inaugurating two high-mast lights at the fishing harbour here on Monday, he said necessary measures would be taken to carry out the study at the earliest.
However, the Minister said Mangalore fishing harbour was leading in fish catch compared to the other ports of the coastal belt in the State. "Out of 1.8 lakh metric tonne fish caught in the State every year, Mangalore accounts for 80,000 metric tonne for the past two years. A total of 52,540 metric tonnes of fish has been caught till November 2006," he informed.
Mr Shetty said all efforts would be put to see that Mangalore got an 'all-season fishing harbour' at the earliest with the assistance of the Union government. He also urged the Minster of Ports H D Revanna to take proper actions for the dredging of Mangalore fishing port.
The Union Agriculture department has sanctioned Rs one crore for establishing ice plant at Malpe and Mangalore fishing harbours, under its scheme of infrastructure development in pisciculture. Foundation stone has already been laid for a 20-tonne-capacity ice plant at Malpe fishing port, Mr Shetty stated.
Mr Shetty said he had been constantly demanding the Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who is also the Finance Minister, to provide 400 lts of Kerosene with subsidised rate to the fishing boats as he assured in his budget, at least before January 2007.
However, he said, the issue is concerned with the Union government as it controls Kerosene distribution. The Central government is partial in this regard, he alleged and said Rs 10 crore to 15 crore was required to implement the scheme.
He also said Rs 4.14 crore granted by the State government towards the revival of the Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation (KFDC) would be helpful to effectively enforce provident fund of the Corporation employees, insurance scheme, bank loans, pending salary, retirement benefits, voluntary retirement and the like.
The Corporation which was established in 1970 had been running under loss for the past seven to eight years, but has been able to come out of the loss, due to its activities like sale of diesel to fishing boats at Mangalore, Malpe and Karwar, ice manufacturing at Bhatkal and Malpe, fee collection at Mangalore and Honnavar fishing harbours, maintenance of aquarium at Cubbon Park in Bangalore, giving ice plants to private people on contract at Kulai, Tadadi, Kaup, Honnavar and Karwar, Minister explained. MLA N Yogish Bhat presided. KFDC Managing Director V K Shetty, MCC Corporator Sarala N Karkera, Mangalore Trawl Boat Fishermen Primary Co-operative Society President B Seetharam Suvarna, Metro Cash and Carry India (Bangalore) Corporate Communications Head Manish Bhargav were present.
Photographs Our Correspondent