Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 20 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday rejected allegations of Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala about a purported agreement concerning the deep-sea fishing project and said the government only intervenes for the betterment of the entire fishermen community and "fake campaign" will not work.
"Government only intervenes to uplift their living standards and for the betterment of the entire fishermen community. People of coastal areas have understood this through their living experiences. To make them against the government by this type of fake campaign will not work," Vijayan told the media here.
Chennithala, who is Leader of Opposition in the assembly, on Friday alleged corruption in a Rs 5000-crore deal the Kerala government is said to have signed to open up deep-sea fishing in the Kerala waters to EMCC International Pvt. Ltd, an American multinational company.
The Chief Minister said the government has formed a fisheries policy and implemented it in 2019 January.
"The policy clearly mentions about deep-sea fishing. According to it, the state government will pressurise the Central government not to allow foreign or corporates trawlers to do deep-sea fishing and not allow them to cross the Indian coast," he said.
"Motorised fishing vessels will be controlled and new motorised vessels will be allowed only for traditional fishermen in place of their damaged ones. This is the policy of the state government and this is for the protection of traditional fishermen. The police also ensures the right to fix the price of the fish they catch to sell in the market," he added.
The Chief Minister also said that it was the Congress Government under Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao that "allowed corporates to filter the sea".
He said it is the central government that is giving permission for deep-sea fishing.
Chennithala had levelled corruption charges against Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma and Industries Minister EP Jayarajan and accused them of being the "chief conspirators" of the deep sea deal.
"The memorandum of understanding (MoU) of Rs 5000 crore project was signed at the Global Investors Meet Ascent 2020 in Kochi. The project involves fishing with 400 deep-sea trawlers, five mother fishing vessels, and nets that can shift to the bottom of the sea. Supplementary agreements in this regard were signed between the Government of Kerala and EMCC International last week," Chennithala alleged during the Kollam stretch of his 'Aishwarya Kerala Yatra'.
Kerala is likely to face assembly polls in April-May this year. (ANI)