The Government would open 20 modern fish markets in association with the National Fisheries Development Board in the State this year and the board would sanction Rs 50 crore for the project, said Mr K. Babu, Minister for Fisheries and Excise.

The Minister was inaugurating the work on the modern fish market here on Friday. He said the Government was also planning to open as many as 100 small markets across the State this year itself.

Mr Babu said the zero-balance savings bank account scheme for the fisherfolk would be launched soon.

Mr Babu said construction work on six modern fish markets was fast progressing in Thevara, Aluva, North Paravur, Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district and Pangode in Thiruvananthapuram.

Presiding over the inaugural function, Mr K.Sivadasan Nair, MLA, said it has become a negative trend to oppose each and every development project planned in the State by propping up one or the other reason and it should not be encouraged.

He said there no need to worry over the proposed modern fish market in Pathanamthitta as it would never raise any pollution threat.

Mr Nair said the municipality has been asked to prepare a project report on the proposed indoor stadium in Pathanamthitta and it would be implemented during the United Democratic Front rule itself.

Prof P.J. Kurien, Rajya Sabha member; Anto Antony, MP; Dr K. Ambady, Coastal Area Development Corporation managing director; A. Sureshkumar, municipal chairman and P. Mohanraj, DCC(I)president, also spoke.

LDF protest

The Left Democratic Front has boycotted the inaugural function alleging that the UDF was “re-enacting’ the inaugural function of the fish market which was done earlier during the previous LDF rule.

The protest march organised by LDF to the meeting venue was blocked by the police. The agitated LDF works raised “go back’’ against the Minister. Prof T.K.G.Nair, CPI(M) district committee member, inaugurated the march. T.Zakir Hussein, former municipal chairman, K.Anilkumar, councilor and Salem P.Chacko, Revolutionary Socialist Party State secretary, also spoke.