Minister for Infrastructure, Investment and Ports Ganta Srinivasa Rao on Thursday promised to take up with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy the demand of fishermen for announcement of a package for them.

Addressing a huge public meeting organised by AITUC-affiliated Visakhapatnam Fishing Harbour Workers’ Union (VFHWU) here, he said he would arrange a discussion with Mr. Reddy during his visit to the city on April 20 to launch ‘Amma Hastam’ programme.

Earlier, union honorary president and CPI district secretary J.V. Satyanarayana Murthy submitted a memorandum to the Minister demanding compensation at Rs.150 per day for boat workers for loss of livelihood during 47-day annual fishing ban, ex gratia of Rs.10 lakh for fishermen killed in sea, sanction of houses under JNNURM and introduction of pension.

The Minister said all the demands were genuine. He said he would take the initiative to simplify the procedure for paying compensation at the earliest to the families of fishermen dying while on voyage.

Mr. Rao regretted delay in providing a jetty for fishermen displaced by Gangavaram Port and announced that steps would be taken soon for providing a jetty in an area easily accessible by the fishermen.

He said the government would allow projects to come up in the coastal areas only after obtaining consent from the displaced fishermen and payment of suitable compensation.

Government Whip Dronamraju Srinivas said he would convince the Chief Minister to pay compensation to boat workers in lieu of loss of work during the ban period on the lines of cash transfer scheme offered in Tamil Nadu and few other States.

AITUC State general secretary G. Obulesu said fishing industry should be declared as an industry.

He said fishermen should also be declared as scheduled community.

Gajuwaka MLA Ch. Venkataramaiah, Joint Director of Fisheries P. Koteswara Rao, VFHWU working president Gurumurthy, and general secretary J.D. Naidu spoke.