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Judicious Allocation of the Marine Resources could Generate Two Lakh Jobs in the Northern Coastal AP

Judicious Allocation of the Marine Resources could Generate Two Lakh Jobs in the Northern Coastal AP
Highlights

The moment words like Green Revolution, Blue and White revolution are uttered, legendary personalities in the field that accomplished these rare feats...

  • Fishermen of Uttara Andhra are migrating to Gujarat as bonded laborer for less than Rs. 9,000 monthly salaries
  • 2,00,000 fisher men families in Andhra Pradesh, and 97% are below the poverty line.
  • Andhra Pradesh with the second largest sea shore after Gujarat could catch 30999 tonnes fish and generate 1,00,000 employment
  • Andhra Pradesh Coastal area capable of creating at least 50 thousand jobs thorough salt cultivation and processing
  • Sea shores can promote tourism, adventure sports, water games, surfing, holidaying by setting proper infrastructure and boost tourism industry.

The moment words like ‘Green Revolution’, Blue and White revolution are uttered, legendary personalities in the field that accomplished these rare feats like prof. M. S. Swaminadhan, Dr. Veghese Kurien and Dr. Hiralal Chaudhari emerges to the forefront respectively. Although these concepts have been tried and tested successfully in other parts of India, they are yet to grace the Northern Andhra Pradesh, which is located in the southern part of this country. Northeastern Coastal Andhra Pradesh however is not a barren land or a desert that is deprived of water, land and mineral resources. It is a land blessed with as many as 10 major and minor rivers and as many as 25, 000 lakes and ponds capable of cultivating thousands of hectors of land. Yet, the cultivable lands and the people that live in this region have no access to water in the absence of irrigation projects and reservoirs that can store and distribute water. Out of 200 TMC of water available here annually, only 25 TMC is used and the rest gets drained in vain into the Bay of Bengal. The ponds and tanks built over the years and were instrumental in promoting agriculture and its allied activities are in precarious condition today due to factors like poor maintenance, encroachments, and violations that turned them as mere dump yards. This has badly impacted the ground water levels as well, resulting in drought and famine. The farmer is giving up agriculture in search of a viable livelihood and is migrating to the far-off urban lands. Although non-water intensified horticultural plants like coconut, cashew, fruits and vegetable gardens and plantations have innumerable opportunities, successive natural disasters and lack of infrastructure to store and gain the market demand is depriving the he regular income sources to the plantation farmers here. The people in distress are selling their valuable lands to throwaway prices and are moving away from their mother land. This way, we have missed the ‘Green Revolution’ here.

The very name Northern Coastal Andhra Pradesh denotes that this region is a proud owner of 350 KMs of coastal area, with enormous mineral, aquatic, and crude oil deposits it is a vast, unexplored treasure trove of resources that can be exploited for the betterment of innumerable small and tiny fishermen villages that dots the coastal areas. According to the International Collective in Support of Fish workers (ICSF), there are 2,00,000 fisher men families in Andhra Pradesh, and 97% are below the poverty line. For centuries, these families are deprived of basic minimum facilities like drinking water, shelter, and regular income to support their families. They don’t have access to motor boats, nets, and suitable harbors (Jetties) for intensive fishing. Fishermen have to travel for several hundred kilometers into the deep sea for fishing with the rudimentary tools in hand and they are often facing Unable to get credit from the formal institutions, the fishermen have to rely on middlemen and money lenders for financing their tools.

the fishermen are subjected to severe exploitation.

Andhra Pradesh (GVA Rs. in Crores)

Sector

2016-17 (FRE)

2017-18 (Target)

2017-18 AE

GVA

Growth Rate

GVA

Growth Rate

GVA

Growth Rate

Fishing

30999

26.64

42110

32.25

40559

30.84

While the fishermen of Andhra Pradesh are giving away fishing, the fishing companies of Viraval in Gujarat has produced 2.8 lakh tonnes of marine fish in 2014-15, and had exported 24,073 tonnes to earn 361 crore. Andhra Pradesh with the second largest sea shore after Gujarat could catch 30999 tonnes in 2015-16 and the fishermen of Uttara Andhra are migrating to Viraval as bonded laborer, where they are exploited for meager salaries. Fishermen from Andhra Pradesh could stay with their families for couple months only during the year and they are spending the remaining months in the deep sea for fishing in the crowded, narrow fishing boats as contract labor for the fishing companies of Gujarat. The fortunes of the Veraval capitalists are made of the blood and the sweat of the migrant fishermen of AP.

While the sand from the coastal regions is being mined by the illicit sand trafficking by the politicians, the valuable minerals available in these sandy beaches could not be exploited for the welfare of the local fishing communities that are deprived of employment opportunities. Indiscriminate sand digging on the other hand is causing soil erosion, which threatens the marine life in the coastal region.

If the governments at the center and the state are really keen in promoting employment and livelihood for the fishing communities deprived of literacy and job skills, they can exploit the available sea water, minerals, sand and other resources like wind and waves to setup start-ups to provide sustainable employment opportunities. They can promote Salt cultivation in large scale. The fishing communities of the generation should be trained to take-up this activity in large scale, which is a sector, capable of creating at least 50 thousand jobs. The youngsters of this region can also make the best use of the surplice water available to produce labeled purified drinking water, which got the potentiality to provide employment for at least 50 thousand more.

Sea shores can be exploited to promote tourism, adventure sports, water games, surfing, holidaying by setting proper infrastructure. Infrastructure building, maintenance and the attracting tourists of national and international origin can provide direct and indirect employment for 50 thousand more individuals in these regions. Finally, the wind energy and the waves can be put to the best use of electricity, which can be distributed to the industrial and domestic needs. It is time for the governments to act to make the best and judicious use of the available resources for employment generation in the coastal regions of the Northern Andhra Pradesh.

Dr Srinubabu Gedela, Dr. Srinubabu Gedela, completed Ph.D fom Andhra University and Postdoctorate from Stanford University. The research work is part of Pulsus Group CSR activity.

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