THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The National Fish Workers’ Forum (NFF) decided to stage a march in protest against government decision to draft marine policy, which has provisions that affect their livelihood, in Delhi on March 10. The plan is to organise the march when Parliament meets for the Budget Session. To galvanise support for issues being faced by the community, a seminar will be organised on March 9.
“The annual general body meet of the forum held in Visakapatnam last week decided to intensify the ongoing protest after the fishermen representatives were excluded from the drafting committee,” said NFF secretary T Peter.
A seven-member expert committee has been constituted by the Central Government to revise the existing policy of 2004. “It will be the third major protest to be undertaken by the organisation after successfully fighting against the Meenakumari committee report on deep sea fishing and Syda Rao committee report on uniform trawling ban,” he said. Fishermen organisations are also critical of a questionnaire released by the committee. Through the questionnaire, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) sought views of all stakeholders on key issues affecting marine fisheries.
Over 85 questions in the questionnaire can be answered only in yes/no format. According to the fisherfolk, they couldn’t air views regarding the crucial issues affecting their livelihood in a simple yes/no format.
“The BJP Government should follow the draft prepared by the party in 2012. NFF wanted the government to bifurcate Union Agriculture Ministry and create a separate ministry for fisheries and fishermen welfare. It also wants the communities engaged in fishing enlisted as Scheduled Tribes category,” Peter.