KOCHI: The Kerala Fisheries Coordination Committee (KFCC), a joint initiative of various stakeholders in the fisheries sector, alleged they were not invited for marine fishing related seminars, workshops and other events organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). Only one person, with allegedly no locus-standi to represent the different groups, is asked to attend such events, the committee claimed.
The committee has sent a letter to the Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh in this regard.
It is alleged in the letter that only one person is always invited in the events as if he is the sole representative of the fisherfolk in the state. Consequently, the representatives of CITU, INTUC, BMS, Dheevara Sabha and Cadal, which together represent a majority of the fishermen, are left out.
The coordination committee has urged the Minister to direct CMFRI to invite the representatives of all groups to all meetings and discussions that have a bearing on the lives of the fishing community. “These representatives will have a better idea in their fields of operation to cater to the general well-being of fishermen and fishing as a whole,” said convener of the coordination committee, Joseph Xavier Kalappurakkal, in the complaint.
The committee also seeks to investigate the functioning of the research institute for the past 30 years and to verify the utilisation of funds allocated. “We feel the funds have been utilised for projects of their interests and not for the benefit of the sector," said Kalappurakkal.
Denying the allegations, CMFRI director A Gopalakrishnan said doors of the research institute were always open to all.
“Official letters are sent inviting the representatives of all organisations when an event is organised at the institute. Though not all representatives attend the events, some used to attend the seminars, workshops and discussion meetings. We do not know what the real intention is behind such a complaint,” Gopalakrishnan said.
He said there are three sectors in fishing- mechanised, motorised and non-motorised. “Sometimes, the institute organises sector-wise events for which stakeholders of other sectors may not be invited. But we always invite all stakeholders for events that cover all sectors,” the director said.