An early morning outing fighting all the elements and returning to shore with virtually no catch – Congressman Rahul Gandhi praised the fishermen and their hard work after his first fishing trip on Wednesday morning. He had ventured out into the sea in a fishing boat to have a first-hand experience of a lifetime.
Addressing the fishermen of Thangassery, Mr. Gandhi expressed his admiration for the fishermen and their resilience. “Over the years, I’ve been told constantly how difficult it is to be a fisherman in India. From the time the boat left the shore until the time we returned, every force tried to fight my brothers. They take all the risk, they put in all their work, they fight the sea and someone else benefits, ”he said. Mr Gandhi added that the fishermen accompanying him did not want their children to go fishing because “it is too hard and too risky”.
Emphasizing that they had to return with just one squid after the short trip, Mr Gandhi said that all the investment invested in that trip had no return. “In my mind, I expected the net to be full of fish and then it came back empty. The fishermen told me they wouldn’t get the same price if they came an hour late and that they also didn’t have insurance, ”he said. .
At the sea, the fishermen had cooked fish for the chef and he said: “for the first time, I realized how difficult it was to get the fish on our plate”. Adding that he wants to work with the fishermen to make their lives easier, he said: “I may not be able to solve all your problems, but I will be with you”.
Having a dedicated ministry for fishermen is high on his list of priorities for the community so that they can be defended and protected across the country, Gandhi said. “Just as farmers cultivate the land, you cultivate the sea. Farmers have a ministry in Delhi, but you don’t. Nobody speaks for you in Delhi.
Responding to grievances over the payment of 5% of the auction proceeds to the government, the lack of breakwaters in some areas and the problems with paying for the road stop, Gandhi said leaders of the ‘UDF of Kerala would study the issues and that its role was to ensure that the fishermen were not treated unfairly.
“We are currently making the UDF manifesto in consultation with different groups and communities on what they want. Yesterday I said that we need to have a fishermen’s manifesto for the fishing community. I would love the Kerala fishermen and the UDF to have a conversation and decide what exactly they want in the manifesto. ”
Inviting the fishermen to have a discussion with the leaders of the UDF, he added: “If you want the government commission of 5% to be withdrawn, insert our manifesto and it will be done. Everything that’s in this manifesto will be delivered to you and it’s a promise. I want the manifesto to be your expression, I want the voice of the fishermen to be there, ”he said, adding that the UDF manifesto also develops a version of the Nyay program, introduced during the election. of Lok Sabha in 2019 guaranteeing Rs 72,000 per year to all poor people.
Speaking about the current controversy over the alleged high seas fishing contract, Mr Gandhi said he does not like any unfair situation. “I am for competition, but not for unfair competition. So there should be a level playing field for everyone. Every day the price of fuel goes up and you cannot buy an engine beyond that. ‘a certain size. The boat can’t be maintained here, it has to be maintained elsewhere. At the same time, the government is trying to build trawlers that will destroy your life. I’m not saying everything should be done to your advantage, but a certain sense of fairness must be there, ”he added.
While observing that globalization has widened the gap between rich and poor, he observed that it also has benefits. “Sonar for detecting fish and GPS are the result of globalization, so we have to be smart about that. We must take advantage of globalization where it helps us and minimize the disadvantages. And now corona has changed the world and we have to prepare ourselves for a new paradigm. “