OTHER STATES

Fishermen mobilising support of people’s representatives

Staff Reporter

They are opposed to implementation of Swaminathan panel recommendations



20-member delegation of fish workers’ union is now in Bhubaneswar

Panel in favour of special fishing zones for private companies



BERHAMPUR: The traditional marine fishermen of Orissa are trying hard to build up support base among elected representatives and bureaucrats of the State against the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations.

A 20-member delegation of Orissa Traditional Fish Workers’ Union (OTFWU) is now in Bhubaneswar to meet MLAs, Ministers and bureaucrats related to the Fisheries Department. Their aim is to meet MLAs of the coastal region. But they are also meeting key MLAs of all parties to support them in their fight against implementation of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations. They would also meet the speaker of the State Assembly, Maheswar Mohanty, who represents costal constituency, Puri. They met Fisheries Minister Golak Nayak on Monday, who promised that the State Government would protect the rights and livelihood of traditional fishermen.

The Swaminathan committee had submitted its report to the Central Government in February 2006. From its very establishment fishermen community was opposed to the committee as it did not have their participation although they were to be affected most by its recommendations. Now the Central Government is trying to implement the recommendations of the committee by getting the nod from the governments of coastal States in the country, said Mangaraj Panda, director of Orissa Marine Resources Conservation Consortium. So, the marine fishermen are trying to build up pressure upon the State Government.

The UPA Government proposes to implement Coastal Zone Management Act (CZM) at the recommendation of the Swaminathan Committee. According to Mr Panda it would help vested interest in exploiting the marine resources at the cost of traditional marine fishermen living along the over 8000-km coastline of the country. The recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee hint at the establishment of ’Special Fishing Zones’ for private companies to promote marine aquaculture through leasing of areas in the sea. It would mean displacement of traditional fishermen from their areas of fishing. Mr Panda said.

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