An urgent financial assistance of Rs.3,600 each per month should be extended to fishermen and fishing sector workers as part of the savings-cum-relief scheme meant for lean months, T.M. Thomas Isaac, MLA, has said.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Dr. Isaac said though the monsoon ban on fishing by trawlers and mechanised boats would soon be in effect, and the fishermen were already going through a tough period, there was not much discussion from the government's side on their plight. The lean month savings-cum-relief scheme had been introduced by the previous Left Democratic Front government, with the initial assistance being Rs.1,800, and in the last budget, it was hiked to Rs.3,600.

It was unfortunate that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's 100-day programme did not even mention such an urgent issue, the former Finance Minister said.

He said that if the non-passing of the full budget was an impediment to the payment, there were budgetary provisions to pay at least Rs.1,800 as the first instalment of the scheme. Dr. Isaac said the payment should not be delayed any further.

He also said that the government would have to make arrangements to release at least Rs.2 crore each to all District Collectors in order to tackle unexpected natural calamities and other problems that surfaced during the monsoon. There was widespread damage all along the Alappuzha coast, and relief work had to be initiated on a war-footing, he said.

He called for the coordination of various departments for ensuring maximum relief to the affected people.

Dr. Isaac said that the increasing of nominated authorities to various posts by the UDF government would be detrimental to the proper functioning of the local governing bodies.

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