Hike in diesel prices and ongoing tussle with the Sri Lankan government regarding unreturned boats are some of their concerns.

Rameshwaram fishermen plan indefinite strike over diesel price hike unreturned boats
news Strike Monday, September 03, 2018 - 17:32

With the petrol and diesel prices reaching an all-time high on Monday, people from various walks of life have raised criticism. Fishermen from Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu on Monday declared an indefinite strike that would last until the government considered their requests. Diesel per litre cost Rs 76.75 on Monday, which was Rs 75.689 three days ago on August 31.

Speaking to TNM, NJ Bose, President of Anaithu Visai Padagu Meenavar Sangam, Rameshwaram, said that they’ve been pushed to go on an indefinite strike for the following reasons: “On one side the hike in diesel prices have hit us hard. On the other side, the boats that are in Sri Lanka, over 183, have still not returned. This has made living very tough for us. Several lakhs of people depend on fishing for their livelihood.”

While an announcement to release the 168 boats that were taken into custody since 2014 was made by the Sri Lankan government in July, none in good conditions have reached so far says Bose. “The boats are practically unsalvageable. It is of no use. We will also be requesting reparations from the government for those fishermen who have been directly affected,” said Bose.

The association has also planned for a protest on September 7 at Rameshwaram bus stop, where fishermen from Southern coastal districts like Ramanad, Rameshwaram and Cuddalore will participate. They also plan on visiting Delhi to move the centre into action.

“Ours is a district where there’s no farming. We only have fishermen. The government gives us a subsidy of Rs 10 per litre upto a total consumption of 1,800 litres in a month. We use close to 5000 litres of diesel in a month, therefore, the subsidy is of little help. How can we operate in such unfavourable conditions?” asks S Emarit, Mechanised boats President, Rameshwaram. He also adds that over the past few years, many fishermen from the state have been forced to migrate to other western coasts because of adverse working conditions. 

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