Fishermen associations’ Joint Action Committee has urged the YSR Congress Party government to immediately restore their fishing rights in ponds, tanks, canals and reservoirs.
Fishermen from across the State observed a day-long hunger strike here on Saturday to exert pressure on the Jagan Mohan Reddy government to immediately withdraw G.O. no 217. They threatened to step up the stir if the government did not stop auctioning of fish tanks to outsiders.
Addressing the protestors, Telugu Desam Party politbureau member Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy said it was not fair to allow outsiders to take part in the auctioning of water bodies depriving the traditional fishermen of their livelihood. It was unfortunate that the State government looked at the water bodies constructed in the past as a revenue source for the Irrigation and Panchayat Raj departments that had not been spending even the funds earmarked in the Budget year after year during the YSRCP regime.
The State government had not earmarked funds either for developing new water bodies or for maintenance of the existing water bodies, he allege.
“What right does the government have to tap revenue from water bodies,” he asked, adding that not even a sluice of a water had been repaired by the present government.
‘Many left out in beneficiaries’ list’
Former Minister Kollu Ravindra recalled that the TDP had provided fibre boats, nets, engines and extended other facilities on subsidy to the fishermen to ameliorate their living conditions. Though compensation for fishermen during the fishing ban had been hiked to ₹10,000, the names of a large number of fishermen had been deleted from the beneficiaries list by the present government under one pretext or the other, he claimed.
Former MLA Vanamadi Venkateswar Rao (Kondababu) demanded that only fishermen societies be entrusted with fishing rights in all water bodies in the State