Trawlers Strike, treatment fish prices soar
Buying fish for the rice plate just got more difficult in Goa, as a strike by trawler owners has escalated fish
prices beyond the reach of the common
The strike has been called by fishing trawler owners from the three Western states of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka following their classification as an industrial and not agricultural activity by the central government. The switch in grouping means that diesel will have to be purchased by the trawler owners at the market rate of Rs 61.35 paise, an increase of Rs 11 from the earlier subsidised price.
Fish prices have doubled and fish sellers like Anton Barretto say that one shouldn’t be surprised if the prices triple or quadruple by February 2.
“There is no fresh fish coming in because the striking trawlers will not be going into sea,” Barretto said.
The king fish in his basket costs Rs 500 per kg. Yesterday, the same fish sold at Rs 250 for the same quantity.
It isn’t just the kingfish prices which have hit the ceiling. Prawns as well as creek fish like the white snapper or the humble sole fish have also doubled.
John Fernandes, a trawler owner who operates a fleet of three trawlers from the Cutbona jetty in South Goa, said the strike was necessary because the diesel hike had only added to rising inflation, making trawling expeditions more expensive.
“I had already increased wages of my sailors just two months ago and now this price increase! Sending trawlers out may not be feasible for us,” he said.
Goa has nearly 1200 trawlers which net nearly 70 million tons of fish annually.
packing for out of job miners
The Goa government has announced a financial package for people in Goa’s mining belt who have lost their jobs or ancillary businesses following a Supreme Court-imposed ban on mining.
Every person rendered unemployed by the mining ban will now be able to avail of a fiscal relief package every month, which should help him or her tide over until the mining ban is lifted or a way is found out of the imbroglio, according to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Those dependant on mining who lost their jobs due to the ban will get a relief package worth between Rs 3,000 and Rs 6,000 per month.
The state government has set aside Rs 15 crore per month for the purpose.
While the mining companies are waging their battle in court against the ban imposed by the Supreme Court of India, several thousand people, including mining truck owners, barge owners and employees of mining companies, have bandied together to form the Goa Mining Dependant Workers Forum to demand that the ban be revoked and mining activity immediately resumed.
The exact number of persons really affected by the mining ban has not been ascertained by the state government yet, although several mining companies have started retrenching and trimming their rosters as the ban ran into its fourth month.
The Supreme Court had banned mining in Goa soon after a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam was exposed by a judicial commission appointed by the central government.