Apart from running a high-voltage campaign against the Narendra Modi government over the farmers’ issue, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will step up his outreach to more working class segments by taking up traditional fishermen’s woes during his visit to Kerala’s coastal hamlet next week.
Congress whip in the Lok Sabha K.C. Venugopal said on Tuesday that Mr. Gandhi would visit Chavakkad, a small coastal town in Thrissur district, next week where fishermen are agitating against the Centre’s decision to extend the trawling ban from 47 days to 61 days.
Mr. Gandhi’s two-day Kerala visit will begin on May 26.
During the budget session of Parliament, Mr. Gandhi had accused the Modi government of going against the interests of fishermen in coastal States, saying a ban by the ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’ was not allowing them to engage in fishing, but foreign trawlers were allowed to do so, a charge denied by the government. Mr. Venugopal said Mr. Gandhi would interact with members of the fishermen community during his Chavakkad visit on May 27.
“The trawling ban has been extended by the government from 47 days to 61 days and from 12 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles off the Indian sea. It has created a lot of apprehension among the fishermen community in the country,” the Alappuzha MP said.
The issue was raised in Parliament, he said.
No to ban
The Congress-led UDF government in Kerala has said the State would not implement the Centre’s directive to impose uniform ban on trawling by all fishing vessels in coastal areas from June 1 to July 31 in the 12 nautical miles off the State coast. As usual, the monsoon trawling ban would be imposed in the coastal belt of the State for 47 days, the government has said.
Normally, the trawling ban in the State is between June 15 and July 31.
Mr. Venugopal said the Centre’s decision to extend trawling ban has been taken as per the recommendation of Syda Rao-Gopalakrishnan Committee.
But Mr. Syda Rao, who was chairman of the experts committee of a uniform fishing ban, has dissociated with the controversial recommendation of the committee, he said.
“It is against a Kerala Act also. So, the Centre should withdraw the order,” Mr. Venugopal said. — PTI