Goa Newz Network
The Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government in Goa today assured the agitating fishing trawler owners in the State that they would be given subsidy on diesel, the price of which was recently hiked by the Centre.
The trawler owners had anchored their vessels since Saturday protesting against Rs 11 per litre hike effected by the Central government on bulk purchase of diesel. From 29th January all unions and associations of fishing workers in Goa joined the strike causing a huge shortage of the essential commodity in the State. Prices of meat and poultry sky-rocketed in Goa on Monday and Tuesday with most restaurants running out of sea food in the capital city of Panaji. Fishing trawlers from all the coastal states like Maharashtra and Karnataka had called a strike to protest against the decision of the Oil companies to re-classify fishing as an industrial activity instead of an agricultural activity further adding to the shortage of fish in the entire western coastal belt of India.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the assembly that the government would give subsidy to trawler owners on diesel purchases and asked the trawler owners to purchase from retail outlets. The mechanism is yet to be announced.
The issue was raised by BJP legislator Benjamin D’Silva on the floor of the House.
Parrikar said,”Agitation by trawler owners is pan-India. We will try to ensure that the Goan fishermen are at comfort and they will not have to suffer due to the hike imposed by the Central government,”.
Goa has 1,200 trawlers operating from five different jetties and fishing is the third largest segment of economic activity in the state after mining and tourism. The tourism industry is heavily dependent on the fish catch as almost 50 per cent of the foreign tourists prefer sea food to red meats in Goa.
The shortfall in the supply of fish has had a collateral effect on vegetables and milk products which also saw a hefty increase in price over the last two days. Many tourists from Maharashtra and north India were shocked at the price of fish and decided to go in for a vegetarian or chicken menu thus increasing the demand for vegetables and chicken. Wholesalers and distributors of vegetables, meat and poultry products decided to make hay while the sun shines and hiked the prices of food stuff forcing establishments to pay more.
While it is not sure if the governments of the neightbouring states will offer the fishing community in their respective states the same subsidy, but the astute and seasoned politician Manohar Parrikar has won his party brownie points among the Goan populace with his quick response to the pressing issue.