Along with the arrests, it is now reported that the Pakistani authorities have been auctioning away the Indian fishermen’s boats.
Gujarat Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Dilip Sanghani told Deccan Herald that the auctioning of boats has caused heightened security fears across the state’s fishermen community. Sanghani said he has written to the External Affairs Ministry as well as the Navy, informing them about the development.
“I was recently on a tour to the coastal part of the state and there is considerable fear among the fishermen regarding this,” Sanghani said, adding that more than 540 Indian fishing trawlers have been captured by the PMSA so far.
Porbandar Boat Owners’ Association Secretary Manish Lodhari pointed out that such auctions have been going on for almost two years now. “While each boat costs about Rs 40 lakh, the Pakistanis are disposing them off at prices between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 6 lakh,” Lodhari said.
“The structure of the fishing trawlers of each country are different and the nationality of the fishing trawlers are established by their structure from a distance,” Sanghani said . “Now with Indian boats being sold off this way, any terrorist may procure these boats and land up on our shores,” pointed out Sanghani.
It may be remembered here that the Pakistani terrorists hijacked an Indian fishing boat “Kuber”, to land on the Mumbai coast for 26/11 Mumbai attack. Vinod Masani, the owner of the ill fated trawler ‘Kuber’ said that two of his boats are still lying with Pakistani authorities.
“We have been hearing that they are selling our boats off,” Masani said adding that the community has been making representations to the authorities for quite some time.
Fishermen say that there has been a decline in fish catch around Gujarat Coast.
Fishermen from the area prefer to fish around the controversial IMBL near Jakhau as the area is rich in expensive varieties of fish which have high demands in the European union.
With a little persuasion from the boat owners, fishermen often take these risks for financial gains.