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Vasco MLA Carlos Almeida seen with Kerala legislators and AIMA representatives in Vasco on Wednesday

Kerala govt panel denies use of formalin in fish

VASCO: A Kerala government-appointed committee for welfare of fishermen and allied workers has ruled out involvement of Kerala fishermen in supplying and transporting formalin-laced fish to the state of Goa in the wake of allegations that such laced fish was coming from the southern coastal states.

The Kerala committee, led by its chairman C Krishanan and along with K Dasan, C K Nanu, M Naushad, M Vincent besides Geetha Gopi and N A Nellikkunnu, briefed media persons in Vasco on Wednesday in the presence of Vasco MLA Carlos Almeida, vice president of All India Malayalee Association T Ravishankar, AIMA Goa unit president Lalu Abrahim and its secretary C Prasad.

The committee is on a study tour to Goa in order to know the working of fishermen and their problems. The committee will visit other states-Gujarat Rajasthan and Delhi.

The report pertaining to the problems and working of fishing communities from all the visiting states will be submitted to the Kerala government in order to implement new schemes, if any, for the betterment of the fishing community in Kerala state.

“The charges levelled by some fishermen of Goa mentioning name of Kerala state and their fishermen in transporting and supplying formalin-laced fish are baseless and false. Kerala government has seized thousand kilos of fish with formalin and has also attached vehicles involved in transportation from some other states (not Goa). The Kerala government is ensuring no formalin-laced fish is transported to any of the states in India and, therefore, a strict vigil is maintained at the borders by concerned authorities,” said Krishanan.

The prices of fish in Kerala have come down to a great extent due to formalin controversy, he added.

“There are some powerful people involved in transporting and supplying formalin-laced fish, however, names of locals and innocent fishermen are being dragged into the controversy,” said Vincent.

“On behalf of Kerala government, we can assure the Goan people that no fish with formalin will come to Goa from Kerala,” said Vincent and stated that a joint effort of Central and state government was needed to bring in a legislation to ensure good fish availability in the country.

The committee members said that the fishermen in Kerala are dependent on fishing activities and that they earn their livelihood through fishing business.

“The Kerala government has resolved all the issues of the fishermen community, on priority. The Kerala government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 2,000 crore for the fishing community and also spends crore of rupees on students from that community,” said the committee members.

It was disclosed that the government in Kerala, under Sagarmala project, is constructing coastal highway connecting North and South Kerala by investing Rs 5,000 crore which would benefit the fishing community.

Vasco MLA Almeida expressed gratitude to the Kerala legislators for their visit to Goa and clarifying the issue in order to strengthen the bond between Goa and Kerala.

He said that thousands of people from Kerala are settled in Goa and that they have made immense contribution in various fields such as education, health and others. Earlier, Kerala legislators visited Mormugao Port and thanked the MPT authorities for rendering help in terms of medication, food, water, diesel etc to the distressed fishermen from Kerala during Ockhi cyclone.

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