With over a thousand fishing boats from outside on their yearly visit to the Vizhinjam harbour, the coastal village’s economy is all set to get a fillip. For several small business establishments in the harbour area it’s time to make some extra bucks. Makeshift eateries, fish retailers, room rental businesses, small-scale commercial transport and boat engine workshops all benefit from the rush of the visiting fishermen. “With more traditional boats from elsewhere making their way to Vizhinjam, I rarely get time to lay down my tools and take a break. This is the time I save a little extra money,” said Forger, who runs a boat workshop at Vizhinjam. Workers engaged in painting, physical damage repair and construction of boats too profit from the larger floating crowd. Women among the fisher folk, who retail fish for a living, also enjoy the benefit of a broadened customer base. Also, the people from surrounding areas too arrive at the harbour in search of fresh fish. Room rental business too thrive as the arriving fishermen are often is search of a place to both stay and store their equipment. There are both private and government facilities, which are auctioned out, to accommodate the visiting fishermen. Most houses in the vicinity have guest rooms which are being rented out to visitors. There won’t be any costly modification as a tidy room with a small mat to lay down and toilet facilities is what the ‘guests’ demand. On Tuesday, preparations to open makeshift eateries were seen in at least half a dozen places near the harbour, most of them attached to the houses. Christopher and John Paul, both auto drivers at Vizhinjam, said this is the best time of the year for them. With the area flooding with people, their work starts in the wee hours when the fishermen start arriving at the shores with their catch. The pick-up truck drivers who transport fish to the markets too are on a tight schedule given the higher volume of business.

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