The National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has decided to observe January 21, 2013, as a protest day against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

Talking to The Hindu , national secretary of the forum T. Peter said that the decision was taken during a general body meeting of the forum held at Puducherry last week.

On January 21, all affiliate organisations of the forum from the 10 coastal States of the country would strike work and hold dharnas.

The fishermen would stage a five-day dharna in front of Jantar Mantar in New Delhi during the first week of March.

Through the dharna, the demonstrators would raise the demand for immediate withdrawal of cases against people opposing the Kudankulam plant.

Mr. Peter said the general body meeting raised the demand for a separate fisheries ministry in the Union government.

The meeting opposed a blanket ban on fishing imposed in the coastal protected areas such as Sunderbans in West Bengal, Gahirmatha and Bhitarkanika in Orissa, and the Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu. The meeting passed a resolution claiming fishing rights to traditional fishermen in these areas, Mr. Peter said. A demand for rights to seasonal fish drying on Jambudweep in West Bengal was also raised.

The meeting demanded that fisheries be dealt on par with agriculture in matter of waiving loans, interest on loans, and tax concessions on fishing equipment used by traditional fishing communities.

The meeting expressed concern over the continuing alleged Sri Lankan excesses over Indian fishermen.