Thousands of fishermen took out a procession from the Malpe Fisheries Harbour to the Ambalpady Junction here on Sunday and blocked the National Highway 66 for three hours demanding that the Union and State governments intensify the search for the fishing boat with seven fishermen onboard which went missing off the Goa coast on December 15, 2018.
The boat, Suvarna Tribhuja, had left for fishing from the Malpe Fisheries Harbour on December 13. Of the seven missing fishermen, two are from Udupi, while the five are from Uttara Kannada. They are: Chandrashekhar Kotian (40), owner of the boat, Damodar (42), both from Malpe, Laxman (43), Satish (32) from Kumta, Harish, Ramesh (23) from Bhatkal, and Ravi (25) from Manki, Honnavar. Fishermen from Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts also took part in the protest here.
They squatted on the national highway at the Ambalpady Junction. Speaking on the occasion, Satish Kundar, president of the Malpe Fishermen Association, said that the fishermen were angry that though 24 days had passed by there was no clue of the seven missing fishermen.
The fishermen here strongly suspected that the seven fishermen might have been kidnapped by either terrorists or pirates.
This incident had caused immense pain to the families of the missing fishermen and also fishermen across the three coastal districts. Both the Union and State governments should intensify their efforts to find these missing fishermen. They should also provide adequate security to fishermen who went out to sea from Malpe, he said.
Shobha Karandlaje, MP, said that she had spoken to Union Ministers Rajnanth Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and Nitin Gadkari. They had responded immediately and search operations were launched on December 23 and they were still continuing. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too had been informed about it, she said.
Women and Child Welfare Minister Jaimala, who accepted a memorandum from the association, said that the missing complaint was registered at the Malpe Police Station on December 22. The district police and Coastal Security Police had taken up investigation immediately after receiving the complaint The State government was in constant touch with the Union government in this matter, she said.
Dinakar Shetty, Kumta MLA, Bharat Shetty, Mangaluru City North MLA, Lalaji R. Mendon, Kaup MLA, Raghupati Bhat, Udupi MLA, Jayaprakash Hegde and Pramod Madhwaraj, former Ministers, Yashpal Suvarna, president of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts Fish Marketing Federation, were present.