Provide free kerosene to fishermen within 10 days or face protest, U T Khader warns govt

Source: TNN | Published on 6th December 2022, 1:37 PM | Coastal News |

Mangaluru: Former minister and deputy leader of opposition in the legislative assembly UT Khader on Monday warned the state government of launching a large-scale agitation should it fail to provide kerosene for traditional boat, and gillnet fishermen within a span of 10 days. Khader, interacting with journalists in Mangaluru, said that the Congress government had introduced the scheme wherein fishermen were entitled to avail of 300 litres of kerosene free of cost. He alleged that the efficacy of the scheme had been impacted owing to poor implementation by the BJP-led government in the state.

Khader said that fishermen across Karnataka had not received the free quantum of kerosene for the past ten months. The Congress will lead the protest if the government fails to take measures to ensure that the fishermen receive the entitled quota of free kerosene within 10 days, Khader said.

Alleging that leaders of the BJP had threatened fishermen into silence, Khader said, “When they wanted to hold a demonstration demanding kerosene under the scheme, they were threatened. The leaders have filled fishermen with a sense of dread to pre-empt any agitation. This is why leaders of the community did not speak up when chief minister Basavaraj Bommai visited Dakshina Kannada.”

Shortage of kerosene had greatly impacted the fortunes of those engaged in small-scale fishing, since they had been unable to net a good haul even when the season had been favourable, the former minister said. “By not solving this issue, the BJP government is cheating the fishermen, and only using them for their political ambitions,” he said.

Khader also expressed concern over the BJP government’s failure to disburse funds for the construction of houses for the fishermen. Voicing suspicions of funds earmarked for the construction of houses having been misappropriated, Khader added, “In Ullal, which is part of the assembly constituency I represent, only 10 people have been selected as beneficiaries under the scheme, while 60 individuals are set to benefit under the scheme in Sullia, where there is no sea. Similarly, 50 beneficiaries have been identified in Bantwal, and 25 in Mangaluru City South.”

The deputy leader of opposition charged the government with neglecting the safety of fishermen, pointing to its failure to ensure installation of safeguard lights in Mangaluru that could prevent accidents at the mouths of rivers.

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