`Fishermen being alienated from their land'

Staff Reporter

Give fishermen communities their due: Minister

ALAPPUZHA: Fisheries Minister Dominic Presentation said on Friday that fisherfolk in the State were losing their land, as big hotel groups were buying land along the seashore. Beaches were becoming inaccessible to fishermen, the Minister said.

The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the three-day annual assembly of the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) at the Alappuzha Pastoral Centre.

Mr. Presentation observed that a majority of owners of fishing boats in the State do not belong fishermen communities. He said at least 50 per cent of the opportunities created in the fisheries sector as a result of mechanisation should go to the fishermen communities. The Minister alleged that officials of various Government departments, especially the Fisheries Department, were not working sincerely to implement the programmes of the Government. .

Addressing the Bishops and priests of the Latin Catholic Church, the Minister said though they had the freedom to criticize the Government when it took wrong decisions, they should support decisions of the Government that benefited the community. "Don't stone us even if you cannot support us," the Minister said.

Tourism Minister K.C. Venugopal, who also spoke at the meet, observed that with regard to development, the coastal areas in the State were equivalent to tribal areas.

He said the Government was taking steps to help the people of coastal areas who had been wrongly classified as above poverty line in Government records but were actually poor. He said the Government would ensure that the fishermen do not lose their land when tourism projects are implemented on beaches. KRLCC president Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil presided over the meeting.

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