Fishermen in AP demands ST status

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Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, May 4 (UNI) The fishermen in Andhra Pradesh were planning to hold a State-level conference on June 1 here, demanding Scheduled Tribe status.

The proposed conference here would bring together all fishermen associations under the banner of 'AP Matsyakarula ST Sadhana Samithi.' Addressing a joint press conference here, Samithi State president Karri Chitti Babu and District President G Pydarao said, ''We are in touch with fishermen leaders of all districts and will lead a delegation to Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy on May 9 to press our demand for the ST status.'' Prominent leaders of the community including Puducherry Tourism Minister Malladi Krishna Rao, Andhra Pradesh Ports Development Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, Former Kakinada MLA Vanamadi Venkateswera Rao and Visakhapatnam Mayor Pulusu Janardhan would be in the delegation.

By including the fishermen community in the Backward Class(BC) list, the government had subjected them to ''continued exploitation'' as the fruits of reservation were ''usurped'' by other castes in the BC category, they alleged.

Mr Chittibabu and Mr Pydarao demanded the government to provide them assistance in the form of unemployment allowance of Rs 2,000 and 100 kg rice each to all fishermen families, who were living in penury due to the ban on fishing from April 15 to June 15.

They also demanded old-age pensions to the eligible, besides starting a residential school exclusively for fishermen's children in Kakinada.

They threatened to intensify their agitation and hold it at the national-level if the State government failed to concede to their demand.


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