The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fishermen in trawler bar plea

New Delhi, July 6: Small fishermen from the coastal states of Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra are forming a committee to lobby the government to stop big trawlers from ruining their source of livelihood.

Petroleum and natural gas minister Ram Naik announced the formation of the committee after a delegation of the National Fishworkers’ Forum recently met Union agriculture minister Rajnath Singh, Naik and deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani.

The committee, to be formed within a week, will work with the agriculture ministry to implement the recommendations of the Murari Committee. Although the Cabinet had agreed to implement the committee’s recommendations on September 27, 1997, several provisions are yet to come into force.

The committee had said there should be no renewal/extension or issue of new licenses/permits for fishing by joint ventures, charter, lease or fishing vessels.

The forum — a federation of state-level trade unions — is pressing for the cancellation of permits issued for fishing by joint venture/charter/lease. It maintains that the commerce ministry’s decision to allow the import of trawlers and the new directives for deep-sea fishing violate the Murari Committee’s recommendations.

The forum is also demanding that deep-sea fishing regulations be enacted by Parliament after consultations with the fishing community. It also wants all aspects of marine fishing to be brought under one roof.

Its representatives say that even five years after the approval of the recommendations, the traditional and small-mechanised sector is not assisted by adequate and regular supply of fuel.

The committee will also push the charter of demands of the fishery sector and work on issues pertaining to the National Fisheries Policy.

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