Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale today demanded that the Maharashtra government should waive the loan taken by fishermen. In a letter written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shewale sought waiver of loan taken by fishermen under the Centre’s National Cooperative Development Council (NCDC) scheme. “There are thousands of fishermen whose livelihood and families are dependent on the 750-km long coastline of Mumbai. Due to various reasons, the number of fish has dwindled,” he said. Adding to the fishermen’s woes, the prices of the fishing equipment have increased manifold and due to the changing prices of diesel, the balance between production and costs has destabilised, putting the boat owners in distress, Shewale said. He further said that paying instalments of the loan borrowed under the NCDC scheme has become difficult for the fishermen and they were unable to pay interest rate that is in the range of nine to 15.25 per cent. “It is injustice towards fishermen to make them pay the kind of interest rates that money lenders charge at a time when banks have decreased their lending rates,” he said. “Fishing has been given the status of farming. Like farmers, fishermen also do not receive minimum support price (MSP) rates and hence they are in financial distress. Therefore, the government should consider waiving their loan taken under the NCDC scheme,” Shewale said.