Siddu Budget: Fisheries sector nets a big slice

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MANGALORE: The coastal region got bountiful in terms of plenty of budget sops to the fisheries sector including Rs 4 crore for the College of Fisheries.

But the allocation of Rs 50 crore to Dr Paramashivaiah committee for preparation of a Detailed Project Report for Nethravathi diversion and another Rs 1,000 crore for the Yettinahole project, has not gone down well with conservationists here. Chief minister Siddaramaiah who presented his government’s maiden budget on Friday brought smiles to endosulfan victims by announcing a rehabilitation scheme for them. The details of the scheme are yet to be announced.

The Endosulfan Virodhi Horata Samithi has been seeking one-time Rs 5 lakh compensation and Rs 5,000 monthly pension to victims, permanent rehabilitation centre for each taluk and day care centre for a cluster of five villages; free scanning for pregnant and employment to a member of each affected household.

The 44-year-old College of Fisheries too is happy with the bounty. KM Shankar, dean of the college, said: “It is because of the performance and research activities that the college got noticed. The funds will help in improving the infrastructure, particularly buildings, and to develop a farmer training centre, museum and modern aquarium.

“Most importantly, funds will be utilised to upgrade various equipment in the college. The college had received Rs 1 crore from the Union government one month ago to upgrade the fish processing technology equipment,” he said.

Vasudev Boloor, general secretary, Karnataka State Fishermen’s Parishad, said: “It seems like the CM has really gone into our demands. We welcome raising the Matsyashraya scheme amount from Rs 60,000 to Rs.1.20 lakh and also tax-free diesel for mechanised motorboats from 1.3 lakh kilo litres to 1.5 lakh kilo litres. Boloor said increasing allocation of kerosene to traditional boats to 400 litres per month was also a good move. He said he was disappointed that there was no mention of dredging and breakwaters, which is a pressing problem for fishermen.

The budget has not cut ice with conservationists. Niren Jain from Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation, said: “We are not telling people should not get water. State should explore alternatives than jumping into this ecologically damaging Nethravathi diversion project first. The sad part is that this project as its comes under drinking water scheme, does not need even Environment Impact Assessment survey. What will be the result of diverting monsoon water on fisheries? Nobody has thought about it, he rued.

The Mangalore University (MU), which has 19 Peethas (endowment chairs), has welcomed the decision to set up Ratnakaravarni Peetha at a cost of Rs 1 crore. Ratnakaravarni was a 16th century Kannada poet and writer. TC Shivashankara Murthy, vice-chancellor of MU, said: “The new Peetha will help students to learn about life and literary works of Ratnakaravarni. Soon university will prepare the objectives of this Peetha and submit it to the government.”

He is a Software Engineer from Moodbidri currently living in Kuwait. He likes to travel and post interesting things about technology. He is the designer of Kannadigaworld.com. You may follow him on FB at fb.com/alanpaladka

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