Chennai: The collision of two merchant tankers B.W. Maple and Dawn Kancheepuram on January 28 this year sent ripples across the city resulting in loss amounting to crores of rupees as numerous fishermen downed their shutters.
Six months down the line, they rue that they have still not received compensation for the disaster whose effect is still felt.
“The amount of compensation still remains unclear despite several visits to the joint directors of the fisheries department. The only money we received was Rs 5,000 that they distributed right after the disaster,” said K. Mariayamma, a fisherwoman.
Fishermen say following the oil spill, nobody bought fish for a month and the boats were completely damaged as the oil seeped into the engines. “The nets had to be dried for two days before they could be used as the net floats in water if it has oil,” added Mariyamma.
The case filed in National Green Tribunal (NGT) for the compensation is still due and the next hearing is on Thursday.
“Last order was passed on April 26 and the case is delayed due to summer vacation in NGT. Meanwhile, I have met the principle secretary of Fisheries Department and asked for a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for each fisherman. Also, 30,000 forms have been collected from fisherman including their demands which will be put forth the court in next hearing,” said advocate Mageshwaran who filed the case in NGT.
Chennai Sengai Singara Velar Visapadagu Urimayalar Sangam filed a separate case for compensation to 286 boats of Kasimedu in the High Court. General Secretary, M. Vijesh said the 286 boats were worst affected and he claimed an amount of `8 crore to incur the loss.
“The high court issued a statement asking the Fisheries Commissioner to check the credentials, take forms from the fisherman about the loss and give the compensation to them within three weeks,” he said. However, the amount of compensation is not revealed.