AP Govt mulling MBC status for fishermen: Minister

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Hyderabad, Jun 27: The Andhra Pradesh Government is actively considering grant of Most Backward Class status to fishermen in the State as in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, Ports Minister M Venkata Ramana Rao said.

He said the Government had referred the matter to the Backward Classes Commission and asked the community members not to get carried away by the ''false promise'' of Telugu Desam Party President N Chandrababu Naidu to include them in the Scheduled Tribes list.

The Centre had not conceded the demand even after a resolution was adopted by the State Assembly when Mr Kasu Brahmananda Reddy was the Chief Minister, the Minister, who hails from the fishermen community, recalled, alleging that the TDP chief had made the ''unimplementable'' promise during his ''Meekosam Yatra'' only to hoodwink fishermen.

Referring to Mr Naidu's promise to waive all loans of fishermen, Mr Rao said the State Government had already written off loans to the tune of Rs 46 crore of fishermen.

While the previous TDP Government had increased subsidised diesel quota from 500 litres to 1,000 litres on the eve of last elections, the Congress Government had hiked the diesel quota to 3,000 litres, providing a benefit of Rs 27,000 per month to fishermen, he said.

He said the Congress Government had increased the ex-gratia for the family of fishermen killed during natural calamities from Rs 50,000 to Rs two lakh.

UNI

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