Friday, November 16, 2012

Sagarkhedu: In 5 yrs, Rs 236 crore spent; fishermen rue apathy

Hiral Dave : Rajkot, Mon Aug 13 2012, 06:15 hrs
A little over two per cent of Rs 11,000 crore has been spent so far on development projects under the Sagarkhedu Sarvangi Vikas Yojana, the much publicised development scheme of the Narendra Modi government for 3,000 state coastal villages.
The scheme was announced under the 11th Five-Year Plan in the run-up to the 2007 Assembly elections and it was expected to benefit 60 lakh people along the state's 1,600-km long coastline.
So far, works worth Rs 235.68 crore (2.13 per cent of Rs 11,000 crore) have been done under the project, benefiting over 76,000 individuals, according to advertisements published by the state Fisheries department in vernacular dailies on Sunday.
The projects include training to fishermen, solar lamps for boats, life-saving equipment, kerosene distribution at subsidised rates, development of various ports and government plan to carry out works worth Rs 1,009 crore in the next five years.
The advertisements have been issued a day before Chief Minister Narendra Modi is to address the first-ever Sagarkhedu Samelan at Veraval in Junagadh where he is expected to announce subsidy on diesel.
The meet comes less than a month after Kinara Bachao Andolan by the Congress, which had hit out at the Modi government for allegedly overlooking farmers and fishermen while favouring industries.
Fishermen, meanwhile, said they felt very little was done for them under a scheme launched exclusively for the community.
“It's a Rs 11,000-crore project but fishermen do not feel they have been benefited for even Rs 11,” said Govind Gosia, vice-president of All Kharwa Samaj, the main community engaged in fishing.
“Life jackets are fine but what fishermen need is upgradation of harbours, infrastructure and subsidy on diesel among other such packages. So far, nothing has been done in this regard,” said Dhanji Fofandi, who is also a vice-president of the body.
Former president of Jaffrabad Kharwa community Bhanu Solanki said they “feel kind of cheated” as “so far, little has done to help fishermen”.