Ramesh Chennithala has strengthened his attack against the government and claimed that Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma led the conspiracy to sign the deal with EMCC India for deep-sea fishing. The Congress demanded the resignation of the Fisheries ministers, in connection with the allegations. Moreover, Ramesh Chennithala will hold a satyagraha at Poonthura demanding a judicial probe into the deal, as well as the cancellation of the EMCC India-KSIDC “master deal” which continues.
Close on the heels of concluding UDF’s Aiswarya Kerala Yatra, senior Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi visited the coastal community members in Kollam, Kerala, on Wednesday morning. He spent almost an hour on a boat with a few fisherfolks off the coast, which he described as “a dream come true”, and had been on his bucket list for quite some time.
“I learnt the difficulties of the fisherfolk from the moment I stepped on the boat, travelling on the high seas until I got out. These members are engaged in a constant battle with the sea, but the bigger profits are for someone else,” Rahul said, addressing the deep-sea fishing controversy in the state. “They cast a net onto the sea, and when they pulled it out, all they got was one squid. I had hoped for a net full of fish, but that was not the case,” he added while interacting with the community members.
While interacting with the members of the coastal community, he told a member, who inquired as to what the Congress plans for the fisherfolk, that “while the farmers have a dedicated ministry, fisherfolk do not have one”. He added, “I assure you that we will set up a dedicated ministry for looking after your needs. I will do my best to see how your life can be made easy.”
Meanwhile, one member from the group pointed out that Congress Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s globalisation policies had first allowed international trawlers to make their appearance in Indian waters. The question comes in the backdrop of the Kerala Opposition Leader’s strong stance against the Pinarayi Vijayan government signing an MoU with American company EMCC.
However, Rahul replied that while globalisation has its ill effects, it could be useful as well. “Interacting with the fisherfolk on the boat, they told me that it was at times difficult to find fish. I told them that with the help of GPS devices, it could be made easy. We should rely on globalisation wherever it helps us, and abandon it where it does not,” he clarified.
Speaking about his experience on the boat, Rahul added the opinion of fisherfolk he had a conversation with. The man told the Wayanad MP that he would not send his children to the seas, as it is a risky venture. “Our manifesto will provide proper educational facilities are provided to the coastal community. This is in addition to minimising risk for those venturing out into the sea for their livelihood,” he said, adding that provisions for it will be made in the manifesto.