Diesel subsidy: Fishermen plan protest on Aug 5

In protest against State government’s decision to transfer diesel subsidy to the bank accounts of fishermen, Trawler Boat Union and other fishermen organisations will stage a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office and submit a memorandum to the DC on August 5.

The associations will also not begin fishing activities till August 5.

Speaking to media persons after a meeting with other fishing organisation leaders at Bunder on Sunday, the Trawler Boat Union president Nitin Kumar said the government was providing sales tax exempted diesel to fishermen for the past 12 years. However, the direct benefit transfer of subsidy to mechanised boat owners is an unilateral decision by the government. The government has neglected the fisheries department. Even Fisheries Minister K Abhaychandra Jain has visited wharf only once, he said.

“More than 5,000 fishermen will participate in the protest and all 1,136 licensed boats will stay at shore. All will gather in the wharf by 9.30 am and start a procession towards the DC office at 10.30 am. This is just the beginning and protest will continue at different levels. We have also decided to picket the office of Deputy Director of Fisheries Department on Monday,” he said.

According to the norms, fishermen cannot change feasibility certificate within five years, but it should be decreased to two years. The boat engine capacity is limited to 350 HP in State, but boatsmen from Kerala use 500 to 600 HP capacity engines. The government gives subsidy on up to 300 litres of diesel per day (9,000 litres/ month). In fact, a boat needs around 16,500 litres of diesel per month. An engine becomes useless just within three years, fishermen leader Mohan Bengre said.

Purse Seine Boat Owners Association president Naveen Bangera said that though six acres of government land was with A Albuquerque and Sons, the fishermen didn’t get at least two acres of land even after government’s promise. So, protest is being organised to show the unity of the fishermen.

National Fish workers’ Federation vice president Vasudeva Boloor opined that there was draught of fish in the sea because of insufficient rains during holidays. The flow of river water was not enough to provide food to fishes. River water also helps in the growth of fish population and in turn leads to good catch, he added.

This time, around five to 10 per cent of traditional fishermen have lost their hopes, he said. Meanwhile, he agreed that fishing strike would hurt the daily wage labourers who were working for the commencement of fishing from past two months.


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