Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala’s satyagraha against the EMCC India deep-sea fishing controversial deal has completed at Poonthura. As part of their protest against the deal and as solidarity with the coastal community, the UDF will organise two rallies from Kasargod and Thiruvananthapuram and the two rallies will meet at Vyppin in Kochi.
“The Kerala Chief Minister has not addressed the concerns of the coastal community and has not visited the location. Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi had been here, and addressed the concerns of the fisherfolk,” said Ramesh, addressing the hundreds of members that had gathered at the venue. AICC General Secretary Tariq Anwar inaugurated the concluding ceremony, where he said that the party are in support of the protests against the injustices anywhere in the country.
Ramesh Chennithala started his satyagraha at Poonthura demanding a judicial probe into the deal between EMCC India and KSIDC as well as KSINC. The event was inaugurated by KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran. The Opposition Leader is also demanding the resignation of Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma, claiming that she led the conspiracy.
The state government had cancelled the two controversial deals following public outrage and instructed Additional Home Secretary TK Jose to probe into them. However, Ramesh as well as others opine that it is not enough and a judicial probe was necessary to bring out the facts of the case. “If the opposition hadn’t brought the matter to the fore, then the government would have gone ahead with the deal,” he said.
The US-based EMCC India signed two separate but connected deals with Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation and Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation. While the latter is under Industries Minister EP Jayarajan, KSINC is under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. However, both the ministers had claimed ignorance when it came to the deals with the company for deep-sea fishing. EP Jayarajan had evaded media questions on the issue while Mercykutty Amma and Pinarayi Vijayan blamed it on the officers.
The Fisheries Minister took a harsh stance against KSINC MD N Prasanth and even reiterated Union Minister V Muraleedharan’s claim that EMCC India is an untrustworthy company. However, Mullappally Ramachandran asked how the ministers could claim ignorance when KSINC and other media, including the “party paper” had celebrated the Rs 2,950 deal with EMCC India. Moreover, the deal was inked in February 2021, while the KSIDC deal was signed in February 2020 following the ASCEND 2020 Investors’ Meet. On the other hand, EMCC President Shiju Varghese denied the allegations and added that if the union Minister doesn’t take back his comments, then the company will have to move legally.
Earlier, the UDF leaders had joined Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi as he interacted with the fisherfolk in Kollam. The INC leader also got on a boat with a few fisherfolks and jumped into the cold sea to assist in their efforts.