The fishermen said that stopping the expansion of the port is a question of survival for them since it will affect traditional fishing families.

Fisherfolk in Karwar end stir as Karnataka HC stays expansion of port
news Protest Sunday, January 26, 2020 - 17:18

The fisherfolk in the port town of Karwar in Uttara Kannada district ended their two-week-long agitation against the proposed expansion of the Karwar port on Saturday. 

Hundreds of fishermen had taken turns to spend the night under a stage erected next to the Deputy Commissioner's office, facing the Rabindranath Tagore Beach in Karwar. But after the Karnataka High Court issued a stay on the proposed expansion on Friday, the fisherfolk decided to end the stir. 

“This does not mean we will go back on our demands. We will stick to the same demands. We want the expansion of the port to be stopped at all costs,” KK Tandel, a member of the fisher community in Karwar, said.  

Tandel's words were in response to the Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner Harish Kumar's suggestion that the fisherfolk were divided over their demands to stop the expansion of the port. 

"The protesters are changing their demand and are allowing for the expansion project to go ahead as long as Tagore beach is preserved. I have requested the officials concerned to have another round of discussions with those opposing the expansion," the DC had said last week after the fisherfolk called for a bandh in Karwar. 

Read: Why fisherfolk in Karnataka are protesting against the expansion of Karwar port 

The protests started after workers began the construction of the breakwater structure close to Rabindranath Tagore beach in Karwar. The fishing community feared that this is the first step in the proposed expansion of the port, which they say will wipe out traditional fishing families, irreversibly damage Rabindranath Tagore beach and affect the movement of fishing boats in and out of Aligadda and Baithkoli beaches. 

The fishermen said that stopping the expansion of the port is a question of survival since it will affect traditional fishing families in Baithkol, Tagore beach and Aligadda beach, the three major spaces left in Karwar for the profession.  

The first phase of the second stage of development of Karwar port is under the control of the state government. Even though it was planned 15 years ago, no companies came forward when tenders were floated in 2004 or 2008. It was later funded under the Sagarmala project of the Union government. 

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