Puducherry, Dec 22: National Fishworkers Forum has urged the Central government to create a separate Ministry for Fisheries and Fishermen Welfare by bifurcating the Agriculture Ministry, saying it was the need of the hour.
A resolution in this regard was adopted by NFF at its recent two-day general body meeting in Vishakapatnam.
NFF chairman M Ilango who presided the meeting, released copies of resolutions to mediapersons here today.
He said delegates from all coastal states and Union Territories had participated in the meeting.
Other resolutions at the meeting demanded, among other things, enlisting of fisher communities as Scheduled Tribes as recommended by the Mandal Commission so that there would be guaranteed reservation for fishermen in education and employment opportunities.
This would also pave the way for demarcation of constituencies in Assemblies and Parliament. A resolution said the proposal to set up commercial ports should be dropped as existing ports were underutilised.
Ilango said the hardships faced by Indian fishermen while crossing international maritime borders and entering neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh should be solved through bilateral and consistent dialogue.
Another resolution said all confiscated boats and those which had not been returned so far should be immediately handed over to the fishermen and demanded release of Indian fishermen incarcerated in neighbouring countries.