Mangalore: Vishwanth Shetty is worried over the fate of his small boat repairing unit that is close to the creek that is being redesigned as a part of the third phase of fishing harbour expansion in Bunder. A portion of land close to his unit has been swept away by heavy water current. “I am not in a position to relocate the unit as the place we are supposed to shift is under litigation,” says Mr. Shetty.
Mr. Shetty is one of the 39 unit owners at the ‘boat building yard’ in Bunder affected by the delay in the work to redesign the creek. “Our work has been stopped for more than a year. We are unable to either haul up the boat into the unit or take the readied boat into the sea,” says boat builder Satya Shankar. The entrepreneurs make a living out of repairing or overhauling the boats.
Mr. Shankar says, “Because of our condition, we are not getting orders for boat overhaul. A work related to boat provides employment to nearly 100 people,” he says. Boat contractor Loknath pointing to a new boat parked close to the creek and says, “If that boat has to hit the sea, the repairer will have to shell out nearly Rs. 10,000 to remove the sand dumped in the creek.”
Many of the boat building units, close to the fishing harbour, are in a dilapidated condition. Some of these units, such as Shrinivas Boat Building Unit, have been closed for nearly a year.
Mr. Shetty, who has been building boats for nearly four decades, says the creek that existed earlier helped them bring in big trawl boats for overhaul. “It was really deep and wide.” Much of the earlier creek has been filled covered with mud.
“We are not happy with the way the creek is being redesigned by blocking the natural drains joining the creek,” he says, and adds that the work is in violation of coastal regulatory zone guidelines. The boat builders expressed threat of water logging.
A petition has been filed before the National Green Tribunal questioning redesigning of creek.
Regional Director, Costal Regulatory Authority, Mahesh Kumar, says the Ministry of Environment and Forest has given clearance for the work of redesigning of creek.
Assistant Executive Engineer (Ports) A.S. Rao, who is overseeing the work of widening fishing harbour, says the redesigned creek will be wider and deeper than the earlier one, which will facilitate boat building and overhaul activity. A small bridge will be laid across two natural drains joining the redesigned creek, Mr. Rao says.