The fisheries department is racing against time to issue the radio frequency (RF) cards to fishermen with just around 500 applications, a meagre 10 per cent of the 5,000-odd fishermen working on around 1,500 trawlers, being processed.
The department had earlier set an ambitious target to issue the cards prior to the commencement of the fishing season. As per the figures available with the department, only 500 applications have been processed. Director of fisheries Vinesh Arlenkar said that the delay is due to the labourers working on the trawlers arriving late in the state. The fishing season in the state got underway from August 1 after a 61-day fishing ban.
As per the fisheries department, around 5,000-6,000 crewmembers are working on around 1,500 trawlers, which operate from five different jetties across Goa. The RF cards have been made compulsory in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in which Pakistani terrorists had entered Mumbai city through the sea route.
The new cards are issued as crewmembers usually change every year.
It may be recalled that Fisheries Minister Vinod Palyekar had earlier announced that all fishermen in the state would get the radio frequency identity cards before the start of the fishing season in August this year and that the process for collecting data of fishermen would commence from June 1.
Arlenkar said that the department has received only around 500 applications which have been processed and added that applications are being processed as they are received. He said that the department had earlier outsourced the process of issuing the radio frequency cards. However, this year, the department is carrying out the process by itself.
Meanwhile, the process of filling the police verification forms at the Cutbona jetty has gained momentum with around 600 forms being submitted in the aftermath of the murder of a labourer inside a trawler.
President of the Cutbona Boat Owners Co-operative Union Savio D’Silva said the union has taken an initiative to complete the police verification and the health cards for the labourers and so far around 600 forms have been filled and more will be completed in the days to come.