CHAVAKKAD:One of the most significant outcomes of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the coastal city of Chavakkad was a promise that the grand old party would consider the formation of a national unit of Fishermen Congress and another national unit of Farmers Congress.
“I will hold a discussion in this regard with the Congress president without further delay,” he announced at the fag end of the ceremony. The announcement was met with spirited cheers from the audience comprising mainly fishermen, many of whom were of the opinion that the decision was a long overdue one. “The fishermen in coastal states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, will be hit by the Centre’s move to enforce a fishing ban. A national-level unit for Fishermen Congress would go a long way in ensuring that we receive an adequate representation in the key decisions that affect our community as a whole,” said Veeramani, a fisherman at Chavakkad and a Matsyathozhilali Congress leader.
“Currently, the Fisheries Department comes under the Department of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. A separate ministry has to be created to address the issues that plague our community,” he added.
A separate Fisheries Ministry was one of the important subjects enlisted in the manifesto of the Congress during the Lok Sabha polls. As of now, Kerala is the only state which has a dedicated Fishermen Congress unit. The same issue, regarding the formation of a national-level unit, had figured in several arenas, the most recent of which was the state convention of 2013.
MLA T N Prathapan and K V Thomas MP had also held talks with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the issue.