Bengaluru, Feb 25 : The leaders of the fishermen community from three coastal districts of Karnataka have demanded that the State government come to the rescue of the fisheries sector by announcing a package of Rs 10,000 crore in the upcoming budget.
Various fishermen associations under the aegis of Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahanjana Sangha said in a statement that they were badly affected due to high fuel costs, covid-19, pandemic, heavy drop in marine catch and other issues that has resulted in increased operational costs, because of which more than 90 per cent of the mechanised boats have stopped venturing into fishing.
Kishore D Suvarna, president of the Aala Samudra Meenugarara Sangha, said, “In the last five years, fishermen community has suffered a lot due to consistent drop in the marine catch. The operational cost involved in running mechanised boats has increased drastically as boats are spending more days in the sea and going too far off places for fishing, which has resulted in more consumption of fuel. To lessen the financial burden, more than 90 pc of boats have stopped venturing into the sea. There is no option left before us other than to seek help from the government. We demand that the government waive off loans as we are not in a position to repay them to the banks.”
The Sangha demanded that subsidised kerosene be provided for traditional fishing and the launch of a separate fishing zone. They also demanded that the government provide a loan with 4 per cent interest for fishing activities in the coming days and that the Coastal Regulation Zone rules be relaxed for the construction of houses for fishermen.
Leaders said that a memorandum has already been submitted to the Chief Minister to include their demands in the ensuring budget. The Sangha said that they will go on indefinite strike by stop fishing activities in the coastal districts if the State fails to meet their demands.