The crisis has led to fall in the fish prices, but the non-acceptance of Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 has reduced sales.
Chennai: Less than a year after the floods that have struck their livelihood, fishermen in the state face the similar crisis as the demonetization move by the Union government came as a rude shock to the fishing industry.
“Every day, fishermen go to sea and get the fishes worth Rs. 15 crore of business. By selling them across the coast and providing for export, we were usually able to do a business of at least Rs. 10 crore daily. Subsequently the notes of Rs. 500 and Rs 1000 were declared non-legal tenders, the fishermen are worst hit,” said Nanjal P Ravi, of the National Union of Fishermen Association. “The business is not making approximately Rs 10 lakhs daily, leave alone Rs 10 crores,” he continued.
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He added that though the fishermen are able to get essential commodities on credit, the business and means to livelihood has been hurt very badly. “There is no money for diesel, nets, and no money to pay workers. Not everything can be brought by the NEFT and RTGS when half the people don’t have bank accounts,” he added.
The crisis has led to a fall in fish prices, but the non-acceptance of Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 has reduced sales. “I sell fish on Sundays from 8 am to 11 am I usually manage to sell over 15 kg of fish. But after currency issues today the sales were abysmal. I have managed to sell about 4 – 5kg of fish over all. People are ready to buy in exchange for old notes of Rs 500 but I am not accepting that one. I have taken a hit on my earning,” said K. Raji at Saidapet.
Fishermen hope that the steps would be taken to mitigate the situation. “The ones who buy the fish from us for export are doing so on credit. Even if they transfer money, how will all the fishermen be paid without them having accounts?” bewailed a union member.