Fishermen, reeling under the impact of spiralling prices of fuel, have urged the government to increase their monthly quota of subsidised diesel.
Fishermen said mechanised boats use up to 8,000 litres of diesel per deep sea voyage and in many cases, boat owners are lamenting that they were incurring losses. “My boat is back from a trip and I have to pay ₹2 lakh but I have only ₹1 lakh in hand. I am unable to repay my loan amount of ₹50,000 a month taken towards buying nets,” said M.E. Raghupati, a boat owner and a fishing community leader in Kasimedu.
He said Karnataka had increased the subsidy cap on the number of litres according to the engine capacity.
“This could be easily emulated here. We need to check how much is allocated as subsidy each year and how much is left unspent and that amount could be given to fishermen who depend on diesel to run their boats,” he added.
Long dry period
K. Bharathi, of the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association, said the associations were in discussion as to what to ask of the government.
“Many of the fibre reinforced plastic boats have not gone for fishing since men don’t have money for diesel at the present rate. The government should consider a cap on diesel prices for fishermen. That would help and be easy since we tank up at designated bunks inside fishing harbours,” he added.