Seaweed farming: In TN, women divers finally hope to turn the tide

With new allocations in budget and government's plans, seaweed farmers in Tamil Nadu's coastal regions hope to turn the tide | All photos - N Vinoth Kumar

For seaweed farmer Suganthy, work from home is not an option. But the travel to her workplace is a long ordeal taking about 2-3 hours. From her house in Pamban in Rameswaram taluk of Ramanathapuram district in southern coastal Tamil Nadu, she has to catch a bus to Rameswaram town, from where she boards a share-auto to Mangadu, a seashore hamlet,  and then walks 5-6 kilometres to Narikkuzhi, another fishing hamlet, where she was actually born. (She had moved to Pamban after marriage.)

But despite the long and arduous commute, she doesn’t take a moment to rest. She quickly removes her metti (toe ring), anklet and other jewellery.

“What if they slip off in the water?” she says.

She then wears a half-sleeve shirt over her saree and ties a nylon rope attached with a sack around her waist to collect seaweed. She covers her hands with a pair of black gloves and puts on a pair of goggles.......