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State for enhanced loans for fishermen

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S. Sarma says housing loan now given to fishermen is insufficient.
S. Sarma says housing loan now given to fishermen is insufficient.

Staff Reporter

ALAPPUZHA: The State government has decided to approach the Union government to enhance the housing loans extended to the fishing community from the existing Rs.40,000 to Rs.1 lakh, Fisheries Minister S. Sarma said here on Monday.

Addressing a press conference after releasing a logo and opening a welcome committee office for the Matsya Thozhilali Mahasangamam to be held on November 15 here, Mr. Sarma said the current loans given by Matsyafed were inadequate for the rising needs of the community.

The government was willing to chip in with 50 per cent of the loan, if the Centre hiked it to Rs.1 lakh, he said.

Change in norms

The Minister said the government would also request the 13th Finance Commission to include tidal wave attack, sea erosion, accidents and damage to equipment during fishing under natural calamities and extend financial assistance as per the natural calamity relief norms.

He said the Aquarium Reforms Bill, which envisaged ownership rights for fishermen in the marine territory that they fish, would be presented during the next session of the Assembly. Foreign trawlers would be banned in the 12 nautical mile-territory of the sea that came under the State’s purview.

Diocese’s stir

Reacting to the ongoing strike by the Alappuzha diocese of the Latin Catholic Church over tsunami rehabilitation and scholarships, Mr. Sarma said various tsunami rehabilitation works were already under way and tenders were invited for several more.

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