Bhuj (Gujarat), Jan 7: Cold wave in Kutch has badly hit the fisheries industry at Jakhau Port this year with the fish production going down from over 12 trucks a day to only one truck-load a day.
Jakhau Fisheries and Boat Association said that because of severe cold the fishes have gone into the high sea that has led to the reduction of availability of fishes.
Fishermen from Saurashtra and south Gujarat camp at Jakhau Port from September to May, busy months for fishing, and do a brisk business. During this season, 600 to 1,000 fishing boats are anchored at the Port but, this year due to reduction in the output of fishes, over 100 fishing boats have returned to their home ports.
Jakhau is one of the leading fishing ports of India. Annual output of fish at Jakhau is placed at 60,000 tonnes. Once the fishes are caught, they are classified according to different grades. There are as many as 125 grade determining depots at the port but, because of low production level this year, only a couple of depots are functioning.
Meanwhile, lower quantity of production has forced many fishermen to close the shop and return to their home towns. Many of them have incurred huge losses. The Central Government had allocated Rs 33 crore to create infrastructure facilities for the fishermen at the Jakhau Port. The facilities included streetlights on the port, construction of one-Km-long Jetty and a canteen.
These facilities were ready three years ago but, the fishermen were not allowed to use them for two years as the authorities wanted them to be inaugurated by some dignitary.
In December 2006, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi formally inaugurated the facilities but, they have not been open for the fishermen till date.
Port authorities said that the Fisheries Department had sent a proposal containing terms and conditions for the facilities to the Gujarat Government long ago but, the Government has not sent its approval yet and that is why the facilities have not been made available.
Fisheries and Boat Association President Abdulsha Hussainsha Pirzada expressed his displeasure over the lackluster approach of the Government towards the facilities.
''It is sad that though the infrastructure is ready for the last two years, its benefits have not been made available to the fishermen,'' Mr Pirzada said.