Fisherfolk struggle on Hope less Island

Fisherfolk struggle on Hope less Island
Highlights

For around 400 fishermen inhabitants there appears little hope for survival on the \'Hope Island\'. Although it provides a beautiful setting with vast expanse of sea water around for tourists and nature lovers, the island however makes life miserable to the fishermen.

Kakinada: For around 400 fishermen inhabitants there appears little hope for survival on the 'Hope Island'. Although it provides a beautiful setting with vast expanse of sea water around for tourists and nature lovers, the island however makes life miserable to the fishermen.

Tucked away from the mainstream life, they are deprived of basic amenities such as transport, healthcare, electricity and safe drinking water.
The Hope Island, formed some 200 years ago into a 16-km long sand split due to the agricultural run-off from the Godavari delta, is located 15 km away from district headquarters in Kakinada city.

MB Raju, an elder from fishermen community told The Hans India during a visit that they live in fear at times of cyclones. “Deafening sounds of tidal waves, strong winds, chilly weather and the gruesome sea give us a horrific experience”, he recalled. Life swings between life and death when people fall sick and when they desperately need emergency healthcare. One has to cruise by boat in the sea for 15kms to reach the district headquarters city to consult a doctor and procure medicines, he said.

Even for purchase of essentials like vegetables and groceries, the fishermen are constrained to go to weekly shanties at Kakinada once in a week on Wednesday in boat ride for an hour. An RO plant was provided, but it failed a long ago. With this, a couple of borewells dug up by the Fisheries departmentfor supply of drinking water became useless and that safe drinking water became a far-fetched dream for the fishermen.

Same is the case with the solar lights provided by the government. As many of them are not working, the inhabitants live in pitched darkness. The lack of facilities for recharging solar lights also turns life from bad to worse.

The school with a single teacher runs without teacher on most of the occasions due to the logistic problems involved in his reaching the place from outside. Although 30 students were on rolls, a good number of them spend time outside the school.

CPI (M) state leader DadalaSubba Rao who recently visited the island, urged the government to give a facelift to the local fishermen colony. He proposed to accord a gram panchayat status to the Hope Island enabling the flow of sufficient funds for its development.

Raju said they were badly in need of a motor craft to ferry his community people in emergency as the travel in country boats takes a lot of time. The administration shifted some fishermen families to Kakinada from the island. Bust most of them prefer to stay on the island itself as it provides proximity to the sea for the catch.

By SS Chary

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