Census of fishermen soon to decide kerosene quota

Food and civil supplies minister Anoop Jacob said the government would soon conduct a census among fishermen to determine the quantum of kerosene they require for fishing operations.

The cabinet sub-committee considering the issue had entrusted the task to the civil supplies department, he said. Mr Jacob was responding to the statement by Union minister K.V. Thomas that the Centre was ready to fix a kerosene quota at subsidised rates for fishermen if the state was ready to give an estimate about the number of fishermen.

Meanwhile, shortage of kerosene has badly hit the fishing sector in the state.

Each permit now fetches only 129 litres of kerosene which lasts for four days. The rest of the fuel has to be bought from black market.

The price of kerosene supplied through the public distribution system is Rs 14.90, but the fisherfolk have to pay five times the amount to avail of the fuel from the black market.

On an average, a boat with outboard engine requires 800 liters of kerosene per month. So, they have to pay about Rs 40,000 extra as fuel price instead of Rs 12,000.

The shortage along with dwindling catch has led to an increase in fish prices.

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