Special Correspondent

Relief amount for them during the 45-day ban increased to Rs. 800

CHENNAI: The State government has planned to carry out a marine fisherfolk census this year, K.P.P. Samy, Fisheries Minister, informed

the House on Wednesday.

Replying to a debate on the demands for grants to his department, the Minister said the census, using the staff of the Fisheries department, would be conducted at a cost of Rs. 21.01 lakh. The data on the fisherfolk, in the wake of tsunami 2004, would be required to plan and implement development and welfare schemes. Moving the demands on Tuesday, the Minister said the State, with a coastal length of 1,076 km, had 591 marine fishing villages with 363 fish landing centres. The last census was held in 2000.

Referring to the demand of A. Rajan and Udayam Shanmugam (both Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and V. Jeyapaul (Congress) for increasing the relief assistance of Rs.500 given to fishermen families during the 45-day ban on fishing, Mr. Samy announced that the relief amount would be hiked to Rs. 800. K. Balabharathy (Communist Party of India-Marxist) terming the hike as inadequate said the government should at least raise it to Rs. 800. Mr. Samy said that under the modernisation scheme of traditional crafts, 3,000 beneficiaries would be covered. The ceiling on monthly consumption of sales tax-free high speed diesel would be raised from 250 litres to 300 litres.

When the Fisheries Minister reiterated that during the previous AIADMK regime, not a single house was constructed with the government funds for tsunami-hit fisherfolk and the Central government's scheme of educational assistance of Rs. 300 per tsunami-hit student was not implemented, O. Paneerselvam, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, explained the various steps taken by the AIADMK government inn the wake of tsunami.

He wondered how houses could be built, without acquiring land. At that time, 512 hectares of land were acquired. This was why the current DMK regime was able to build houses. Mr Paneerselvam added that the various concessions were given to the students including waiver of tuition fee.

Animal Husbandry and Rural Industries Minister Pongalur N. Palanisamy said 200 veterinary sub-centres would be upgraded. One hundred centres would be established, for which buildings would be obtained through local bodies and finances would be sourced though the MLA constituency development scheme. Two hundred junior veterinary assistant surgeons and an equal number of livestock inspectors would be recruited.

Corrections and ClarificationsThe third paragraph of a report "Marine fisherfolk census planned" (Tamil Nadu, May 6, 2010, page 4) was "K. Balabharathy (Communist Party of India-Marxist) terming the hike as inadequate said the government should at least raise it to Rs. 800." It was a reporting error which is regretted. The figure should have been "Rs. 1,000".