Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari asked fishermen to rise up the value chain and focus more on exports as he assured full Government support to them in this regard.
“You should export more and more of the catch and from the Ministry’s end; we are ready to extend all help. In case some work is getting stuck due to permissions, we will clear those at the earliest,” he said this evening.
Gadkari was speaking at a function to kick-start redevelopment works at the Sasoon Dock, which houses one of largest fish markets in the city, in South Mumbai.
The Rs. 25.50-crore project carried out by Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) involves creation of a fish auction shed, ice plant, chilled storage, better sanitation, roads, dredging, canteen and dormitories for fisherwomen to rest.
Stating that high-level pollution in the waters in close proximity to the financial capital due to discharge of effluents is making fishing impossible, Gadkari stressed on the importance of preserving the marine ecology.
“We should undertake all efforts possible to make sea cleaner and this will truly help the city become world-class.”
He referred to other projects like sea plane services, amphibious buses and a focus on inland transport, which his Ministry is undertaking to rave up Mumbai’s image and offer convenience for commuting.
Gadkari promised to the fishermen they will not be evicted from MbPT-owned godowns at the dock rented out to a State Government body, over non-payment of dues by the latter.
“We will get the dues from the Maharashtra Government but will not displace you,” the Minister said.
Gadkari said the fishermen, who have been regularly paying the State agency for use of the godowns, should not be penalised. It is for the State body to pass on the money collected to the Central Government-owned MbPT.