Pawar assures debt waiver for fisherworkers

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (UNI) The Government today agreed to take up debt waiver for fisherworkers with the authorities concerned and also to bring down tax rate, like customs duties, cess and Vat, among others, from the present 28 per cent on out-board motors, at par with those of agricultural machinery inputs- tractors, pumps and spare- at four per cent.

An assurance in this regard was given by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, when a delegation of the National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) called on him seeking the immediate acceptance of their long-pending demands.

The delegation said many of the fishermen's cooperative societies had repaid their loans to the principal lenders, but the individual fisherworker's debt was not reflected in that.

Mr Pawar also ensured the delegation of an adequate supply of kerosene oil at PDS rates for fishing purpose, besides assuring to look into the fishermen's demand for exemption of road cess, currently charged at the rate of Rs 1.50 per litre, on diesel used for fishing.

The fishermen were sore at the Environment Ministry's latest draft, Coastal Managment Zone Notification (CMZ), which tend to impose ban and restrictions on fishing. Such measure would cause a loss of livelihood to the traditional fishermen, who would not be able to operate in the coastal areas as now, the delegation told Mr Pawar.

The Minister assured the fishermen to take up the environmental fiat with the Prime Minister for a workable solution, NFF chairperson Harekrishna Debnath said in a release.

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