Demands setting up of Kerala Inland Fisheries Development Corporation
Fishermen and fish workers engaged in inland fishing have demanded that the benefits of government welfare schemes be given to them as well since they are also contributing to the fishermen welfare fund.
Thottappally Gopalakrishnan, president of the INTUC-affiliated Ulnadan Matsya Thozhilali Congress, told a press conference here on Monday that the government had failed to increase the benefits to fishermen though the fishermen’s contributions to various welfare schemes had been enhanced considerably. When the fishermen welfare fund was constituted in 1986, the fishermen’s contribution was Rs.30. Though the fishermen’s contribution had since been raised to Rs.100, benefits had remained the same.
Allowance for marriage of the daughters of fishermen, which was Rs.1,500 in 1986, remained unchanged even in 2013. Volume of other benefits also remained unchanged. Benefits to the tune of crores of rupees released every year for fishermen did not reach fishermen and fish workers in the inland fisheries sector, he said.Mr. Gopalakrishnan also complained that not even one of the 1,000 houses approved by the Cabinet recently under a housing scheme for fishermen had been earmarked for those from the inland fisheries sector. He said the four-lakh strong inland fishermen and fish workers would be forced to act if the latter’s contributions to the welfare fund was not given due recognition.
The INTUC-led forum demanded the formation of Kerala Inland Fisheries Development Corporation and periodic revision of benefits released from the welfare fund.
Mr. Gopalakrishnan was elected president, Anil Kumar Thalakulathoor general secretary and K.A. Mohiyuddeen treasurer of the Ulnadan Matsya Thozhilali Congress at the meeting.