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E-pass not needed to transport fish: Jayakumar
E-passes are not required for fish vendors to transport their catch between districts, State fisheries Minister D Jayakumar clarified on Monday. The Minister added that a slew of changes has been adopted in the functioning of the fish markets in the city to ensure that they did not contribute to the spread of coronavirus infection.
"Fish is a perishable good and there is no need for e-passes. Fish and agro products fall under essential items category," Jayakumar said after chairing a stakeholders' meeting with fishermen, fish vendors and exporters’ association at the Ripon Building premises on Monday.
He added that teams would be constituted under assistant engineers of the Greater Chennai Corporation to operate the nine major fish markets in the city, including the ones at Kasimedu, Chintadripet, Vanagaram, Loop Road.
"The associations have been asked to provide volunteers to assist police in crowd control at the markets. Fish markets will have separate entry and exit for vehicles, and barricades will be erected to ensure social distancing. Fish vendors also have agreed not to allow customers who fail to wear masks. Public address systems will be set up at the markets and hand sanitizers will be provided at the entrance," he said.
Retail fish selling has been banned in Kasimedu fishing harbour, one of the biggest markets, even as the authorities have given permission to traders for wholesale business.
Commenting on the decisions taken at the meeting, K Bharathi, president of South India Fishermen Welfare Association, criticised that the government refused to support the fishermen who have been struggling for their livelihood for the past 100 days.
"Even for the stakeholders' meeting, the government had only invited select associations and snubbed the associations that are dissenting. Fishermen are demanding relief from the State government," he added.