Plea in High Court seeking enhanced relief for fishermen during ban

A petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Central and state governments to pay an amount of Rs 500 per day to fishermen during the fishing ban period.

When the plea came up before the First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose today, it issued notices to the Centre and state returnable by April 28.

The petitioner, Fisherman Care, while referring to a policy note of the state government, submitted that for the year 2017-’18 the ban period has been increased from 45 days to 61 days and the existing fishing ban relief assistance of Rs 2,000 had been enhanced to Rs 5,000.

Stating that fisheries is an important sector in India and provides employment to millions of people and contributes to food security of the country with a 8,118 km coastline and 2.02 million EEZ, the petitioner submitted the fishing ban period now increased to 61 days a year would cause a national loss and loss of foreign exchange.

The petitioner also submitted there were no alternative employment opportunities in coastal areas during the ban period and in such circumstances the relief amount of Rs 5,000 given to fish workers for 61 days is meagre and insufficient to run their families.

Submitting that any fisherman on a successful trawling gets anywhere between Rs 1,500 to 2,500, the petitioner said preventing him from doing business at the same time offering only Rs 83 per day offends Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution.

Hence, the petitioner prayed for a direction to both the central and state governments to jointly pay Rs 500 per day to the fishermen families during the fishing ban period.

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