Distressed fishermen from seven coastal districts --Raigad, Ratnagiri, Mumbai and Mumbai Suburbs, Palghar, Sindhudurg, Thane of Maharashtra are dissatisfied with the relief package provided by the state government. The relief package of Rs 65 crore was granted to the fishermen, however, the state fishing association believes that the amount is too small to help the sector financially. Moreover, this package does not help the labourers who were largely affected.
Akhil Maharashtra Macchimar Kruti Samiti President Damodar Tandel said, the state government has turned blind eye for labourers. About 90,000 labourers/workers work on 20,000 boats but no money has been given as compensation for loss of work.
"Due to lockdown and natural calamity only small boats were allowed to operate. On such boats there are hardly any labourers deployed. Therefore, at least Rs 2,000 each should be given to these labourers is our demand. Deputy Chief Minister, Fisheries Minister and Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly have assured some solution post Dussera," informed Tandel .
According to this relief package, boat owners can avail Rs 20,000-30,000, Konkan's Rapankar fishermen (doing fishing from shores of the sea by putting only net without boats) can avail Rs 10,000, fisherwomen can apply for Rs 5,000 but astonishingly no provision of money has been made for the labour class.
Before Mahavikas Aghadi government came into power, a few cyclones had hit the sea affecting the fishing activity. Wherein, the former CM Devendra Fadnavis had asked the district collectors to prepare a report on damages incurred and during that time Rs 200 crore losses was indicated in the report. However, no distribution of money was done. Later Uddhav Thackeray became CM and Cyclone Nisarga hit Raigad, Ratnagiri, Palghar besides the lockdown but no satisfactory relief has been provided till date. Though the Chief Minister himself made visits of these affected districts, alleged Tandel.
"If the government can waive off loan of farmers, then we fishermen also do farming at sea. Why are we refused a similar kind of relief. We have to struggle for compensatory relief package. Expecting loan waiver for fishermen seems to be a distant dream," he said.