Agri Business

Fishermen seek implementation of Murari panel report

Our Bureau Visakhapatnam | Updated on March 12, 2018

The Union Government should implement the Murari Commission report and protect the livelihood of fishermen who are getting marginalised as the Government is allocating vast stretches of coastal lands to special economic zones, ports and industries, according to P. Raja, General-Secretary of the All-India Fish Workers' Federation, and M. Appadurai, President. The Federation affiliated to the All-India Trade Union Congress will hold a national convention here on Thursday on the problems faced by the fishermen.

On the eve of the convention here on Wednesday, the federation leaders said the Murari Commission had submitted its report years ago and the Centre and a majority of MPs had accepted them. “But still no effort is being made to implement the recommendations. Some of the important recommendations are a ban on foreign fishing trawlers in Indian waters, the establishment of a separate Central Ministry for Fisheries, and upgrading the skills of Indian fishermen to undertake deep-sea fishing. Supply of fuel at subsidised rates to fishing craft and welfare schemes for fishermen are among the other recommendations,” they said.

They said the Centre was earning as much as Rs 20,000 crore through fisheries exports and fisheries products worth Rs 50,000 crore were being sold in the domestic market. The sector was providing employment to lakhs of fishermen and, after agriculture, was the most important sector in employment generation. Still, they alleged, it was being grossly neglected.

The Government should not allocate lands to SEZs, industries and coastal industrial corridors at the expense of fishermen, they said. They cited the example of the petroleum, chemical, petrochemical industrial region (PCPIR) coming up between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada. They said the sea and rivers had become dumping grounds for industrial waste and their catch was dwindling due to pollution. Inland fisheries was also grossly neglected, they said.

Even though some States had fisheries ministries nothing much was being done, they said and added that it was high time the Centre set up a Union Fisheries Ministry to take care of the problems of fishermen. Inclusion of fishermen in the Scheduled Caste list was also a matter of great urgency, they said.

Italian marines: They said the return of Italian marines from Italy to India to face trial for shooting Indian fishermen was okay, but the Indian Government should not have given Italy any assurance that they would not be sentenced to death, as reported in certain sections of the press. They said it was for the judiciary to decide what punishment should be meted out to the marines.

>sarma.rs@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 27, 2013

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