Fishermen oppose fiat on subsidy, stay away from sea

Two-month long ban on fishing ended on Saturday

Though the two-month ban on fishing came to an end and the fishing season started on Saturday, the fishermen did not venture into the sea, in protest against the move of the State government to transfer diesel subsidy to their bank accounts.

With this, the buzzing activities were not seen at the Old Port in Mangaluru and Malpe Port at Udupi on Saturday.

According to the records in Fisheries Department, over 2,700 boats, including 800 purse seine boats, have been registered in Dakshina Kannada district.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, fishermen leader Mohan Bengre said, “When the Karnataka government had implemented the scheme on April 1 this year, we had opposed it.

Later, following pressure from various fishermen associations, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had promised that the scheme will be implemented only after holding discussions with the fishermen.

But the government has taken a unilateral decision to transfer the subsidy amount to the bank accounts of the fishermen. Hence, we have decided to observe the strike for five days. A meeting will be held on Sunday to decide on the future course of action.”

With the protest, over 4,500 fishing boats have remained anchored at Malpe port in Udupi. Owing to the protest, all the fishing activities have came to a standstill.

Meanwhile, the Malpe Fishermen Association has decided to stage a protest on August 4 and submit a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Dr R Vishal urging the government to continue the previous system of providing subsidy to the fishermen while purchasing diesel.

The future course of action will be decided after looking into the action of the State government, it said.

Deep Sea Fishing Association Vice president Kishore Suvarna said, “The mechanised fishing boats get a subsidy of Rs 7 per litre of diesel purchased. The subsidised diesel is being given to fishermen for the last 13 years. The decision of the government to transfer the subsidy amount to the account is not in the interest of the fishermen.”

Inconvenience

Trawler Boat owner Harish said, “With reduction in the availability of fish and increase in the number of boats, the fishermen face inconvenience. We purchase boats by availing loans. If the subsidy amount is transferred to the account of the fishermen, then the problems of the fishermen will aggravate.”

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