Refers to notification that says benefits of scheme are limited to BPL section

 Magsaysay award winner author and social activist Mahasweta Devi has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing her concern over the plight of traditional fishermen.

  In the letter written to Dr. Singh last week, she pointed out a notification issued by the Ministry of Agriculture last year that stated benefits of “Savings cum Relief Scheme” to fishermen would be limited only to those below the poverty line


“This notification leaves me sorely disappointed.  I request you to withdraw this notification immediately and ensure that … traditional fish-workers are made beneficiaries of the Savings Cum Relief Scheme,” Ms. Devi said.

 In the communication which she describes as a “protest letter,” the renowned social activist, who had worked for the interests of tribal people, including fishermen of West Bengal, said she supported the movement of Dakshin Banga Matsyajibir Forum, an organisation of fishermen that has been opposing the notification.

“The notification will affect thousands of fish workers in the State and we will launch a movement against it if it is not withdrawn,” said Debasish Shyamal , general secretary of the Dakshin Banga Matsyajibir Forum. He said that as per the “Savings cum Relief Scheme,” fishermen used to save a certain amount of money every month and the Centre pooled in some additional resources, which was paid to fish workers in three monsoon months of the year, when they were unable to catch fish.

 Mr. Shyamal, who thanked Ms. Devi for taking up the cause of fishermen, said the State government should also raise the issue with the Centre.