Withdraw GO 217, demand coop societies
Scores of members of Fishermen Cooperative Societies (FCS) led by former Kakinada TDP MLA Vanamadi Kondababu on Monday staged a protest in front of the Collectorate here on Monday, appealing to the State government to withdraw G.O. 217 on the proposal to lease out government inland water sources to private agencies across the State.
Addressing a gathering of the inland fisherfolk, Mr. Kondababu said, “The idea of leasing out the inland water sources including tanks will deprive nearly 40 lakh people belonging to 30 sects of the fisherfolk community in Andhra Pradesh of a livelihood. The members associated with the 3,500 registered FCSs will become jobless if their source of livelihood is leased out to private agencies.”
“The inland fisherfolk have been allowed to earn their livelihood from the government water sources since the 1960s. In the 1990s, the State government leased out those sources to the FCS with a condition of a 10% increase in the lease every year. If the existing system is disrupted, lakhs of fisherfolk would be pushed into distress,” he said.
Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the protest, Mr. Kondababu asserted, “The conservation of the inland water sources, particularly ponds, will be in question if the private agencies are allowed to enjoy the right over them. The TDP has strengthened the FCSs by providing infrastructure facilities and offering handholding support.”
Under the banner of the Joint Action Committee comprising inland fisherfolk, the protesters on Monday appealed to the State government to withdraw the idea and GO 217 to ensure the welfare of the fisherfolk as well as protection and conservation of the inland water sources from encroachment.
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