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The Gujarat Congress has alleged that the Centre’s decision to discontinue special package announced by the then UPA government for fishermen has pushed their lives towards misery.
“The Narendra Modi government has discontinued special package that was given to fishermen and families of those fishermen who are lodged in Pakistani jails. It has also cut down on subsidy given to the fisherfolks thus compounding the problems of these families,” alleged Arjun Modhwadiya, former president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC).
The special package for fishermen was announced by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2003.
He said, “The diesel and kerosene quota for fishermen has been brought down by half. They are getting 100 litres of diesel against their allotted quota of 200 litres. Same is the case with kerosene.”
Modhwadiya boarded a fishing trawler and travelled along with fishermen in Arabian Sea at Porbandar on Saturday to understand the issues of fishing community.
As part of the special package, the government provided subsidy for building new boats and other related activities of the fishermen.
Former president of Porbandar boatowners association, Manish Lodhari, said, “The special package was for fishermen whose boats were captured by Pakistan.
“Under this package, Rs 5 lakh were provided under the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and Rs 6.5 lakh funds under the union agriculture ministry were to be given to fishermen to build boats.”
He said, the money under the PM’s relief fund was made available but the agriculture ministry did not release Rs 6.5 lakh under its quota.
As far as subsidy is considered, Lodhari said, “For the year 2015-16 of the total subsidy amount of Rs 149 crore only 53 per cent was released, while for the year 2016-17 not a single rupee has been received from the Centre.”