Despite a favourable season, fishermenare wary of venturing into sea

A fishmeal factory at Ullal in Mangaluru.

A fishmeal factory at Ullal in Mangaluru.  

They are apprehensive of not getting good price for their catch following strike by fishmeal factories

Notwithstanding favourable toofans [churning of the sea] following last week’s highly active monsoon, fishermen in the coastal region are wary of venturing into the sea as the initial catch may not fetch them a good price with fishmeal factories continuing their strike.

The fishermen are apprehensive of not getting a good catch after the 61-day fishing holiday ended on July 31 as the monsoon had been very dull and there was very few toofans in the sea.

However, torrential rain accompanied by gusty winds since August second week brightened their hopes as the sea too witnessed massive turbulences.

“We get mainly Rani fish and Kappe Bondas as major catch during the initial days of fishing after the monsoon holiday,” said Nithin Kumar, president of Mangaluru Trawl Boat Meenugarara Sangha.

These varieties usually go to fishmeal factories for production of fishmeal and are not sold in the open market for lack of demand. Mr. Kumar said that the fishmeal factories are on strike in protest against the Union government’s move to collect GST at 5% retrospectively from July 2017.

Following this, fishermen are apprehensive of getting good price and are not venturing into the sea.

Yet, about 100 vessels have ventured out for fishing from Mangaluru since Tuesday, he told The Hindu.

H.K. Khader, who represents All India Fishmeal and Oil Manufacturers and Merchants Association, said that GST officers were demanding remittance of tax, running into crores of rupees, from fishmeal factories that was not collected from customers. “We had been submitting periodical returns to GST about the sales and they kept mum all these days without raising demand for tax on fishmeal. They themselves were under confusion and now have been demanding payment retrospectively,” he said.

Mr. Khader said that despite making several representation to the government, the matter is not settled. It is not that the Minister is not aware of the issue nor that she could solve it herself instead of referring it to the GST Council. The government’s indifference has put the life of lakhs of people in danger, he said and added that GST officials have frozen bank accounts of factories for non payment of tax thereby affecting their business.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 2:55:26 PM |

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