Tirunelveli: The deep sea fishing project launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself in July 2017, just remains on paper, according to fishermen leaders, who also complain that not even a single beneficiary under the scheme still has received a boat even after lapse of around one-and-half years since the project launch.
The ambitious project is said to have been launched with the prime objective of enhancing prospects of the fishing industry by diversifying the fishermen into deep sea fishing.
The fishermen who often got arrested and their boats seized by the Sri Lankan navy while fishing in the narrow stretch between India and Sri Lanka, evinced good response to the project, and according to fisheries department sources 337 fishermen registered their names as beneficiaries under the project, within a month of the project launch.
Some even made their contribution of 10 per cent ( Rs 8 lakh) for the project implemented jointly by the Central and State governments with 70 percent subsidy for the construction of fishing vessels at a total cost of Rs 80 lakh.
“However, till now nothing has progressed,” rued Tamil Nadu Fishermen Federation, secretary, C R Senthilvel.
“Those who made their share of `8 lakh are still waiting for their boats by paying the interest without proper income for the amount they borrowed to pay as contribution,” added Senthilvel, according to whom only now the work order for around 60 boats has been issued.
The Prime Minister, according to Senthilvel, promised 500 boats in the first year 2017-2018. “As per his promise, we should have received the second batch of 500 boats to help our fishermen fish Tuna that fetch more revenue to improve their livelihood,” added Senthilvel....