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Pradeep Singh

Paradip: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's announcement to develop Paradip as a modern fishing harbour has been welcomed by many, but at the same time, some have raised concerns over the 'lack' of necessary infrastructural development and the long-pending issues of local fishermen.

The Centre's move to develop Paradip port as one of the hubs for economic activity is a welcomed step. However, fishermen are facing a lot of problems here. They need better facilities to boost fish export from the harbour. The Centre and the State are making several announcements, but the actual problems are not being addressed, alleged a local.

Due to lack of vessels, specific containers and storage facilities, the fishermen here depend on the Chennai and Visakhapatnam harbour to export fish. Without resolving these issues, nothing developmental can be done, said another local.

"We are happy that infrastructural development will be taken up at Paradip. However, it would not be sufficient as the government is not taking the decisions necessary for business at the harbour," said Saroj Kumar Pradhan, assistant secretary of Odisha Marine Fish Producers' Association.

General secretary of the association, Subhas Rout said, "We have been demanding to dredge the river mouth here. Though the Paradip port had earlier taken up the work, it wasn't dredged properly resulting in loss of both lives and property."

In her budget speech, Sitharaman on Monday said, “Five major fishing harbours - Kochi in Kerala, Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Paradip in Odisha, and Petuaghat in West Bengal will be developed as hubs for economic activity. We will also develop inland fishing harbours and fish-landing centres along the banks of rivers and waterways.”

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