The Bharatiya Janata Party will hold a national convention in the city in December to bring pressure on the Centre to formulate national fishing policy so as to address the concerns expressed by the fishing community.

BJP national secretary P. Muralidhar Rao, who is on a tour of coastal areas on a fact-finding mission, told reporters on Wednesday that the party leadership was in favour of drafting a policy and later bring pressure on the UPA Government to adopt a similar policy for the welfare of fishermen and all others dependent on fishing.

Mr. Rao, who is a close aide of BJP president of Nitish Gadkari, earlier visited fishing areas in Vizianagaram and Srikakulam and interacted with fishermen at the fishing harbour here. He is scheduled to visit Gangavaram and Mutyalammapalem on Thursday.

Meeting held

At a meeting with fishermen conducted by AP Mechanised Boat Operators' Welfare Association (APMBOA) and Dolphin Boat Operators' Welfare Association (DBOWA), he said the party was committed to take up the cause of the fishermen at the national level.

He promised to oppose displacement of fishermen due to Special Economic Zones, allotment of lands indiscriminately to private parties on the coastal areas and construction of private ports.

Stating that the livelihood of fishermen all along 7,000-km long coast was under threat due to the policies followed by the UPA Government, Mr. Rao said it was a pity that even at the Visakhapatnam fishing harbour, there was no provision for clean drinking water.

He said fishermen were suffering for want of infrastructure like cold storage, technical know-how and bank finance. Most of the fishermen depend on moneylenders to meet their requirement for boat purchase and repair. The BJP leader strongly opposed the draft coastal zone management and said it was aimed at granting exemption of coastal regulation zone restrictions to the corporates, hotels and big businessmen.

BJP national executive member K. Haribabu, former city presidents Bandaru Rangamohan and T. Subbarami Reddy, city president M. Nagendra, fishing boat owners' association leaders P.Ch. Appa Rao and Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy were present.

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