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COVID-19 pulls fishermen back to Bengal, Amphan forces them to reconsider by Jayanta Basu June 15,2020   |  Source: DTE

If the lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) forced migrant fishermen to come back to West Bengal in India from coastal states, the impact from cyclone Amphan is forcing them to reconsider their decisions.

Close to 60 per cent of the nearly 40,000 migrant fishermen have either just returned to West Bengal or are in the process of returning.

Many, however, have begun to weigh options to go back to the fishing harbours in other states. Amphan has not just shrunk their employment opportunities in Bengal, but has also forced them to look for urgent money to help rebuild their damaged homes.

A large proportion of the migrant fishermen live within Kakdwip and adjoining Namkhana blocks — the areas affected the most in the Sundarbans, as cyclone Amphan had landfall close to the area.

Of the 2.4 million fishermen in West Bengal, two million work inlands in rivers and wetlands, while 400,000 are involved in trawler-driven marine fishery.

Fishermen primarily migrate to western coastal states like Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu on the east, as the fish catch dwindled in Bengal, according to specialists in the fisheries sector.

Fishermen stuck in coastal states and a few other western states wanted to come back after the


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