The leaders of Latin rite Catholics in Kerala want federal government set up a ministry exclusively for fishing to adequately address the issues related to fishing and fish workers.
The Kerala Region
Latin Catholic Council (KRLC), the policy-making body of the Latin
Catholic community, most of whose members live in the coastal region,
has urged the government to set up an exclusive ministry for fishing.
George, KLRC secretary, told Business Line that since there was no
separate ministry for fishing, the development of fishing and welfare
programs for fish workers were not adequately addressed.
that currently several ministries, such as Agriculture and Forests
& Environment, looked after fishing. As a result, there was no focus
on the problems of the fishing sector.
Though Kerala contributes
more than 20 per cent of the fishing output of the country, the
financial outlay for fishing by the Centre is negligible. He pointed out
that the Latin Catholic community had for long been pressing for an
exclusive ministry for fishing as it would help develop the fishing
sector and take care of the fishing community’s welfare.
the general body of the KRLCC, headed by Archbishop Susai Pakiam, had
decided to take out a month-long coastal rally from Kannur to
Thiruvananthapuram later this month to highlight a charter of ten
The need for a Ministry of Fishing topped the chart.
Amending the Coastal Regulation Zone norms to relax the restrictions on
building house by fish workers is another important demand of the
Shaji wanted the government to retain the Kollam
harbour as a fishing harbour. The government is going ahead with turning
it into an industrial harbour that will handle cement and LPG cargos.
He said this would mean displacement of some 1,500 fishing families,
most of them Latin Catholics.
He said the KRLCC general body
meeting, held here over the weekend, had asked the government to
announce a rehabilitation package for those living in the vicinity of
the proposed Vizhinjam port before the work on the project started.
Those whose land is acquired should be adequately compensated.
of the rehabilitation package is very crucial, particularly against the
backdrop of the tragic experiences of those evicted for the Vallarpadom
container station project,” Shaji said.