Chairman of the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes C.S. Dwarakanath has observed that the State Government needs to do a lot more for the welfare of fisherfolk.

He was visiting fisherfolk in different parts of the city on Wednesday.

He suggested that the D. Devaraj Urs Backward Classes Development Corporation should come out with a package to improve the financial condition of fisherfolk.

Mr. Dwarakanath told The-Hindu that the commission too would recommend a package for rehabilitation of poor fisherfolk. He said the commission had asked officials of the Department of Backward Classes and Minorities Development to prepare a package. “The officials have promised to get it done in two months,” he added.

Mr. Dwarakanath expressed concern that several welfare schemes of the Government had not reached the fisherfolk. “All the departments are to be blamed for this.” He said the Mangalore City Corporation collected Rs. 9 a day as rent from women fishmongers who had put up shops in fish markets but had not provided them facilities such as drinking water and toilets.

Concern

He expressed concern that an air-conditioned fish outlet which had come up near a fish market in Urwa was affecting the income of poor women fishmongers.

Secretary of the National Fishworkers Forum Vasudev Boloor told The-Hindu that Mr. Dwarakanath met fisherfolk at Baikampady. He visited a few houses of fisherfolk who use traditional small boats for fishing. Fishermen told him that they were not getting much help from the Government or financial institutions. Some fishermen told Mr. Dwarakanath that they were following the “kairampani” system to catch fish in which groups of fishermen shared the expenses as well as the income they got from selling fish.

Mr. Dwarakanath was reportedly impressed with the system being followed by the fishermen.

At the fish market located at State Bank, women fishmongers selling dried fish told Mr. Dwarakanath that they did not have any facility to store their unsold stock. Some of them had to stay back for the night in the market to keep a vigil. They said that dried fish worth several thousands of rupees had been stolen in the past.

At Urwa market, women fishmongers told Mr. Dwarakanath that there was no regular supply of water at the market. One of the toilets at the market had been rendered useless, they said, and added that the others were not maintained properly. They said that the hygiene at the market had to be improved.

Assistance sought

Mr. Dwarakanath also met a few toddy tappers, who said that they had been rendered jobless after toddy tapping was banned. They sought financial assistance from the Government. A few weavers who met the commission chairman at Baikapandy also sought similar help from the Government.

Members of the commission and leaders of AHINDA accompanied Mr. Dwarakanath.

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