Fishers demand open market kerosene sale

Sharp fall in supply of subsidised kerosene

Fishers have demanded that the State government intervene to make non-subsidised kerosene available in the open market at affordable price to curb their exploitation by unscrupulous elements.

Demand for kerosene in the open market for fishing activities has gone up against the background of a sharp fall in the supply of subsidised kerosene. The shortage in the market is exploited by elements that corner public supplies to sell the commodity at a premium to fishermen who are badly in need of the fuel, said Charles George of Matsya Thozhilai Aikyavedi.

To end this practice, fishers raised the demand that kerosene be made available in the open market by a government agency, which can also fix the points of sale so that fishermen are not exploited.

The demand was raised at a meeting of fishers’ unions last week with Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma and the government had taken the suggestion positively, Mr. Charles said.

Sources in the apex fisheries cooperative, Matsyafed, said that with marine fisheries passing through a near-fish-drought, kerosene offtake had slowed down to some extent.

Mr. Charles reiterated that the unprecedented fall in catch, especially of pelagic varieties like anchovies, Indian mackerel and oil sardines, called for a package for the fishermen who were now in dire straits. Even if the government was not ready to come out with a financial package for the fishing community, it should at least make sure that affordable kerosene was made available, he said.

Around 38,000 fishing engines in the State required kerosene for their operations. Matsyafed has been supplying up to 140 litres of subsidised kerosene a month to engines of up to 10 HP. Engines with power ranging between 10 HP and 15 HP are provided with 1,508 litres and engines up to 40 HP are given with 190 litres monthly.


Meanwhile, the Fisheries Department has fixed March 15 as the date for verification of the boats and fishing vessels that require subsidised kerosene supply.

There are around 200 boats that are eligible for subsidised kerosene in the district. However, only 100 to 150 have been availing the fuel due to the sharp fall in fish catch in recent months.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 10:01:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/fishers-demand-open-market-kerosene-sale/article30914980.ece

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