Democratic Traditional Fishers and Workers Forum (Andhra Pradesh)



  1. Name of the Organisation: Democratic Traditional Fishers’ and Workers’ Forum
  2. Address: Yellavari Street, Alcott Garden, Rajahmundry, Dist – East Godavari, State – Andhra Pradesh, PIN – 533101
  3. Nature of the Organisation: Trade Union
  4. Year of Establishment: 2017
  5. Registration Number:  –  (under process)
  6. Name and designation of the office bearers:
  7. President: Adinarayana (Inland)                                          
  8. Vice President: Konda Babu (Marine), V Giri (Aquaculture)
  9. General Secretary: Pal
  10. Youth President: Gopi
  11. Secretary: Srinivas (Inland)             
  12. Joint Secretary: Jaganadham (Marine), Ch. Yesuraju (Tanks & Ponds)          
  13. Coverage Area: East & West Godavari district (directly) & rest of AP(passively)
  14. Members : Around 2,000.
  • Guiding Principles: Promotion and protection of small scale fisheries including  livelihood enhancement of small scale fish workers and conservation of the natural resource base.
  • Main Activities with Highlights:
  • After Corona pandemic broke down, nearly 40,000 migrant vessel crew fish workers faced loss of livelihood and starvation due to stranding in many coastal states across India. It was reported that three Gujarat ports held 25,000 fishers at sea while over 4,000 fishers were anchored in Mangaluru, Karnataka. Most of these fishermen belonged to Andhra Pradesh. DTFWF contacted all the states and took efforts to bring them back to their home towns.
  • DTFWF demanded financial help of Rs. 15,000 per month for every fisher family during the period of Covid-19 Lock Down. The AP Government announced an one time grant of Rs. 10,000/- for sea going fishermen in June 2020. DTFWF demanded extension of the grant to all fish workers irrespective of marine or inland. This demand was conceded by the government. But, though extended to the inland fishers, rampant corruption and political nepotism barred many genuine fish workers from accessing the benefit.
  • DTFWF has been demanding livelihood support during the fishing ban period. The AP Government has provided a compensation Rs. 5000 per month to the sea going fishers for the fishing ban period.
  • DTFWF alongwith other fish workers collectives demanded proper insurance cover for fish workers in view of the risk involved in the work in fishing. On Nov 21, 2019, Andhra Pradesh Government announced Matsyakara Varosa Scheme, an accident insurance cover of Rs.10,00,000/- for fishers.
  • In the severe flood in 2019 that affected more than 74,000 people in Andhra Pradesh (East and West Godvari), DTFWF provided essential food services support and medical support.
  • In October, 2019, 8 fishermen from Visakhapatnam, who reportedly strayed into Bangladesh territorial waters, have been detained by the Bangladesh Coast Guard. They were released on 29th January, 2020 after thorough persuasion of DTFWF.
  • In May 2019, the landfall of Cyclone Fani on Puri coast had devastated the coastal fishing communities of Puri and Khurda district in its trail. Fani rendered fishing community villages at Pentakatha, Balikuda, Astarang, Chandrabhaga, Ramchandi, Harchandi, Satpara into heaps of ruins. Nature’s fury had turned the self-reliant small scale fishing communities into a community of destitute living on the relief provided by the government. The government dole of Rs.2,000 and 20 kgs of rice was grossly inadequate. In this condition, the fishing communities from East Godavari and Vishakapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh led by the DTFWF and Uppada Aminabad Kottapalli Mandal Developimg Committee collected rice, lentils, oil, salt and detergent worth more than Rs. 13 lacs. Since there is no electricity, they also arranged for 100 solar lamps. A truck loaded with the provisions was taken by them to the cyclone affected fishing communities of Puri. This incident is one of the finest examples of solidarity of small scale fish workers across the states.
  • In November 2018, 22 migrant fish workers from Srikakulam and Vizianagram districts of north coastal Andhra were apprehended by Pakistan Marine Security Agency near the International Maritime Boundary Line in the Arabian Sea (off Gujrat coast) on charges of entering Pakistan’s territorial waters. DTFWF took up the case and consistently pursued it. After being detained for fourteen months, the fish workers were finally released on 6th January 2020.
  • In April 2018, over 3,000 fishing collectives, environmental groups and citizens across India submitted their objections to the Draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, the statutory instrument to govern activities and processes in the coastal areas of India. Of the 3,833 representations made against the 2019 notification, DTFWF alone sent 1,500 representations rejecting the draft. Over 40,000 individual protest letters were collected of which 17,000 were only from East Godavari district. Nine months later, disregarding over 90% of representations, in violation of the February 2014 Pre Legislative Consultation Policy and without publishing the draft in the official gazette as mandated, the government pushed through the final notification.

An Anecdote:

In Andhra Pradesh the small scale fishing communities were largely unorganised. There was no organisation that consistently represented their interests and aspirations.  In the year 2014 in a NAPM-ICAN meeting on industrial corridors at Delhi, D. Pal came across Soumen Ray and Pradip Chatterjee of DMF and discussed with them the problems and prospects of small scale fisheries and fish workers’ in the country in general and in Andhra Pradesh in particular. 

From then on, the fisheries activists based in East and West Godavari started working with DMF and took effort to connect with contacts in fish worker communities all over the state and consolidate them towards developing a fish workers’ movement. The organisation developed primarily in 7 mandals (Blocks).

In the year 2017 ONGC was conducting a seismic survey in the sea adjoining Karvaka and Gogulmattam villages, the Russian ship requisitioned for the survey jeopardised the livelihood of fishers. The seismic survey stopped all fishing activities. The ship tore across fishing nets. Aggrieved fishers of both the villages encircled the ship and brought ashore all the wires and connections, later the fishers were slapped with fabricated cases and nearly 113 of them were charge sheeted. Amidst the ongoing struggle a District meeting was called in 2018 where District committee was formed in the presence of Com. Pradip Chatterjee President of DMF. Within a year this culminated in the formation of Democratic Traditional Fishers’ & Workers’ Forum (DTFWF) of Andhra Pradesh.


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