March 8, 2021 5:14:57 pm
Congress MP from Ernakulam, Hibi Eden, on Monday wrote a letter to the Lok Sabha General Secretary, seeking to move an adjournment motion for discussing “a matter of large-scale corruption in the fishing sector”.
Eden alleged that the Kerala government had “engaged in corruption by signing two MoUs between KSINC, KSIDC & EMCC international, a dormant American company”. Eden stated that the MoUs are against the spirit of fisheries policy of the state which protects deep sea fishing from local and foreign trawlers and improving scientific methods of fishing.
On February 28, 2020, the Kerala Industrial Development Corporation (KIDC), an investment promotion agency under the Industries Department, signed an MoU with EMCC International India Private Limited, the Indian art of New York-based EMCC Global Consortium LCC, for “Fisheries research and development for the up-gradation and promotion of deep sea fishing in Kerala”.
As a sequel to the MoU, EMCC had inked with KSIDC in 2020, Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation (KSINC), a public sector entity under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on February 2, 2021, signed a new agreement with the same US-based firm for manufacturing 400 deep sea trawlers and related activities at a cost of Rs 2,950 crore.
“The traditional fishermen are now struggling to eke out a living and the LDF government which always boasts to be pro- poor is standing with the corporates and paving them way to enter the fishing sector. Our marine resources are already much stretched and depletion of fish stock raising concerns,” Eden wrote in the letter addressed to the Secretary General of Lok Sabha.
Eden said that the decision taken by the state authorities to sign Mou with a dormant institution abroad without proper advice or consent from the central government has to be taken seriously. He added that all necessary measures should be adopted to protect the poor artisan fisherman community from the exploitation of corporates.
“The agitation of fishermen community in Kerala depicts the struggle of the marginalised artisanal fishing community for their right and control over their traditional livelihood resources. The over exploitation of a declining marine resource results in reduction in their level of income,” Eden wrote in the letter.
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