PM Assures Special Fuel Scheme For Fisherfolk

Chennai, July 30: | Updated: Jul 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
Prime minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee has assured a delegation of fishworkers to consider their demands and offer them possible relief packages in consultation with the ministries concerned. The prime minister said that he would increase the assistance for the supply of kerosene and diesel to the fishermen under a special scheme and it would be announced in Parliament soon. The delegation also got assurances on banning foreign fishing vessels in the Indian waters.

Following the assurance from the prime minster, the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) suspended its `Do or Die' indefinite agitation in New Delhi and other states except in West Bengal on late Friday.

NFF sources said that the prime minister acknowledged that the demands of the fisherfolk were genuine and pending for a long time. Regarding fuel assistance, the prime minister appreciated that the fuel requirement of the fishermen had to be fulfilled by adequate and regular supply with financial assistance under a special scheme. The estimated annual requirement of kerosene to be supplied as fishing quota is 3,94,000 kilolitres against the current supply of 76,000 kilolitres.

Estimated annual requirement of diesel for fishing is 9,00,000 kilolitres.

The prime minister would refer all the other demands to the concerned ministries for immediate action, the delegation was assured. Petroleum minister Mr Ram Naik and agriculture minister Mr Ajit Singh were also present in the meeting.

The agriculture minister said that he had cancelled four more joint ventures in fisheries, which violated the conditions, and concerned departments were instructed not to issue any more licenses to foreign vessels. He also announced that the saving-cum-relief scheme would be implemented and agreed to look into the ban on bunting sharks and ray and the turtle, sources said.