KENDRAPARA (ODISHA): The state government has decided to extend public distribution system (PDS) doles to more than 5,000 fishermen families, in its attempts to improve a lot of fishermen living along Paradip coast.
The seven-month-long prohibition on sea-fishing has marred the economy of fishing villages in the Rajnagar and Mahakalpada areas. The ban was imposed to ensure the safety of Olive Ridley turtles. A drop in livelihood stakes had aroused human resource exodus from villages predominantly inhabited by fishermen communities.
To tackle the the problem, the state government has decided to extend social security to fishermen families who are being hit hard by fishing prohibition provisions.
The affected families would now be entitled to all PDS benefits, including Rs 2 per kg rice, besides enjoying the benefits of various livelihood support projects.
Rabi Narayan Pattnaik, assistant director of Marine Fisheries, Paradip, said, “To extend PDS facilities, the exercise to enumerate traditional fishermen families is now under way. So far 5,400 families directly or indirectly hit by turtle conservation measures have been enumerated for PDS benefits.”
Of the total affected fishermen families, 3,000 are from Mahakalpada while 2,400 are from adjoining coastal areas of Rajnagar. The affected fishermen families would now become eligible for PDS benefits meant for Below Poverty Line (BPL) category families. They would be provided with special PDS cards issued by the civil supplies department.
Every year, Orissa government puts a seven-month ban on sea-fishing in a 20 km radius sea territory stretching from Dhamara to Devi river mouth. In accordance with the Odisha Marine Fisheries Regulatory Act, 1983, the prohibitory orders on sea fishing remains effective from November 1 to May 31.