KOCHI: Protest is brewing in the fisheries sector over the Central Government’s decision to curtail the aid given to harbours and fish landing centres by 40 percent.
Stakeholders in the fisheries sector point out that the decision would have an adverse impact on the development of harbours in the State.
KV Thomas MP urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to curtail Central funds for harbours.
“The decision will have an adverse impact on Kerala, which is a maritime state where fishing and related activities are the livelihood of a large section of the people. In such a situation, the State’s fisheries sector cannot go ahead without Central assistance - for construction, upgradation and maintenance of harbours and fish landing centres,” Thomas said.
“We have no idea why the Central Government took such a decision. The prevailing practice is that harbours and fish landing centres are developed, upgraded and maintained jointly by the State and Central governments, with the major share of the funds being allotted by the Central Government. Without Central assistance, such works are likely to come to a standstill,” pointed out Kerala State Mechanised Boat Operators Association general secretary Joseph Xavier.
“It is pointed out that the government’s decision might affect the ongoing construction of six fishing harbours in the State. Only a few fishing harbours are functioning with proper facilities. With the Central funds being curtailed, construction of the harbours could be halted. Since Kerala is a hub of seafood export, we should have harbours of international standards,” Joseph Xavier added. He said that boat owners had brought the issue to the notice of the State Minister for Fisheries, and had sought his intervention in the matter.
Aimed at providing facilities at par with international standards, the Cochin Fishing Harbour at Thoppumpady was renovated recently, spending `10 crore allotted by the Central Government.
New berths and truck parking facilities were constructed as part of the renovation, for which the fund was sanctioned by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB).