A comprehensive act for the development of fisheries and welfare of fishers has been demanded by All India Fishers and Fisheries Workers’ Union.

To achieve their goal of getting a separate ministry formed in the Union Government, the union has given a call all traditional fishermen – both inland and marine -- to participate in a dharna near Parliament House in New Delhi on February 22.

The AIFFWU general secretary K. Hemalatha at a press conference here on Saturday demanded immediate withdrawal of the Coastal Regulation Zone notification issued this year after a through study as it did not protect the right of fishers in any manner over common water bodies to continue their traditional profession.

On the lines of Tribal Rights Act, which gave right over the land to them, the traditional fishers should be given right over entry into the water bodies where they reside and their consent taken while allocating large tracts of coastal areas for industries and Special Economic Zones, she opined.

Implementation of the bilateral agreements on proper treatment of fishermen who stray into foreign waters should be looked into by the Union Government as large number of fishermen were still lodged in several jails. One of the examples was Katchitheevu, where the Indian fishermen were being detained, he she added.

Formulating relief and rehabilitation packages for fishermen should be taken up seriously considering all aspects of loss as they not only lose their livelihood, but also get displaced finding nothing to live on at the alternative site they are rehabilitated.

About 70 State level fishermen organisations attended the national conference of the AIFFWF at Hyderabad recently, which showed concern over the piecemeal approach to the problems of fishermen and supported the dharna at New Delhi. All trade unions at the national level propose to agitate in front of Parliament on February 23 demanding solutions to price rise and several other current problems.

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