[Reader-list] Plea to rehabilitate displaced fishermen

T Peter peter.ksmtf at gmail.com
Fri Apr 18 16:01:30 IST 2008

Plea to rehabilitate displaced fishermen


Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation
(KSMTF) has urged the government to take immediate steps to relocate
fishermen families from the vulnerable areas of the coast before the onset
of the South-West monsoon when strong waves invade the beaches.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, KSMTF State president T.
Peter and general secretary A. Andrews said the government had made no
effort to rehabilitate the families that were relocated to temporary
relief camps after their houses were washed away in 2006. They accused the
government of diverting Rs.100 crore funds from the Tsunami Rehabilitation
Programme for the development of tourism sector.

The federation urged the government to issue kerosene permits for outboard
engines and increase the quota of kerosene. "At a time when the depletion
of fish stocks is forcing fishermen to venture further out to the deep
sea, the government is slashing the monthly quota for boats," Mr. Peter
said. He demanded that the quota be raised to 300 litres.

"After purchasing a new engine, fishermen now have to wait for three to
four years for the kerosene quota. During this period, they are forced to
depend on the black market for fuel. This pushes them into a debt trap.
The only solution is to ensure that the permit is issued as soon a new
engine is purchased," he said. The federation leaders called upon the
Central and State governments to ensure that the debt relief programme for
fishermen was implemented without hitches. They feared that members of
bogus organisations would appropriate the benefits of the programme. They
urged the government to ensure that the debt relief reached all eligible

KSMTF would join the nation-wide campaign from May 1 to June 27.

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