Fisheries sector to go on strike today

Around half-a-million workers directly involved in fishing activities in the marine and inland fisheries as well as in allied sectors in the State will strike work on Monday in protest against the rise in the price of fuel such as kerosene as well as what they called the inadequate social security cover they are being provided.

The strike call has been given by the Kerala Matsya Mekhala Samrakshana Samithi (a forum of unions cutting across the political divide for the protection of the fisheries sector). V. Dinakaran, a former MLA, who is the chairman of the forum, said the Union and State governments had been following policies that would alienate the fishing community from its traditional means of earning a livelihood.

The forum leaders slammed what they called was the move to forcefully evict the fishing community from their original places of residence through a rehabilitation programme in the State under "Punargeham".

The fishers feel that their plea to the government to contain pollution of the inland water bodies had fallen on deaf ears. They said the fishing community had repeatedly appealed to the government to remove silt and waste that had accumulated in the inland water bodies. These appeals had not been heard so far.

The changes in climatic conditions had resulted in a shortage of fish catch. The forum is of the view that the government should come forward with a financial package for the community to tide over the crisis.

The fishing community had also questioned the rationale behind the government imposing road tax on sea-going vessels and demanded that the government should take steps to supply kerosene at the rate of ₹25 a litre for the fishing vessels considering the large employment generation it will provide.

Sherry J. Thomas, general convener of the samithi, alleged that the recent amendments to the Kerala Marine Fisheries Act to regulate sales and ensure quality of the fish being sold as well as to eradicate the influence of middlemen from the market had resulted only in alienating those directly involved in fishing activities. He said the Harbour Management Committees had turned into "middlemen" in their own way.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 6:33:49 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fisheries-sector-to-go-on-strike-today/article65446794.ece