I admire what you do: Rahul Gandhi tells Kerala fishermen
On Wednesday, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi became a sailor and pulled the net with a local deep-sea fisherman to get a taste of their lives and understand the issues they face.
In a moving conversation with thousands of fishermen, including women gathered on Thangassery Beach in this southern coastal district, the descendant of Nehru said he admires and respects what fishermen do.
“I understand and respect what you do. I admire what you do. Many times we eat fish but we won’t understand the hard work behind it and how it reaches our plate,” Gandhi said.
Previously, the MP for Wayanad ventured out to sea with fishermen in their boat from Vadi beach by 4.30am and spent nearly an hour with them before reaching the place of interaction .
MP Wayanad also threw the net with them but could only catch one squid.
Dressed in a blue t-shirt and khaki pants, the congressman could be seen waving his hands at spectators from the boat as he made his way back to shore.
Addressing fishermen as “brothers” throughout his speech, he said he wanted to get a feel for what many of them go through each day.
“I went to sea early in the morning with my brothers. From the moment the boat left the shore and until the moment it reached the shore, all forces tried to fight my brothers, ”he said.
Sharing his sailing experience with the fishermen, Gandhi said they were taking all the risk.
“They put in all their work and fight against the sea. They buy the net and someone else benefits from it,” he said.
They threw in the net and pulled it out and there was a squid in it, he said.
“So all the investment that went into the boat, into the trip, the gasoline in a minute, we saw that there was no return.
In my mind I expected a net full of fish and the net came back empty. So I saw your experience with my own eyes, ”Gandhi added.
Emphasizing the difficulties of fishermen, he said that the prices of gasoline and diesel are increasing every day and the fishing community cannot buy an engine beyond a certain size.
He said the fishermen told him that if they came an hour late they would not get the same price they would get if they came an hour earlier.
They also told him that they had no insurance.
“I have an idea of what you’re dealing with. And now, when a fisherman comes to me to tell me he’s struggling, I kinda understand what he’s going through.
Of course, I will never understand your reality exactly. I only pulled the net for one day. You do it every day, ”Gandhi told the rally.
“They cooked fish on the boat. For the first time, I realized, directly with my own eyes, the difficulty of putting the fish on the plate, ”he declared to thunderous applause.
Noting that he wanted to work with them to make their lives easier, he also said that he might not be able to solve all of their problems, but he could definitely work with them and solve as many as possible. .
“Before leaving the boat, I asked the fishermen what their children were doing. They said their children didn’t want to be fishermen. Because it is too difficult and risky,” Gandhi added.
AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal and TN Prathapan MP, also President of the National Fishermen’s Congress, also accompanied him on his sea voyage.
Gandhi further stated that he would endeavor to have a separate ministry for fisheries at the Center.
“So that the problems of the fishing community can be defended and protected,” he said, adding that UDF leaders in the state would soon hold discussions with the fishermen to prepare a separate manifesto for them. in the next Assembly elections.
Taking a search in the LDF government apparently over the ongoing controversy over the alleged deep-sea fishing contract, the congressional leader said he would like to see what they were going to do with the trawlers.
“I am for competition … but not for unfair competition. So there should be a level playing field for everyone,” he added.
Gandhi’s interaction with fishermen is of importance as the Congress-led UDF has raised allegations against the left-wing state government over an alleged deep-sea fishing contract with a company based in the USA.
Following the controversy, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ordered relevant officials to rescind the memorandum of understanding between EMCC, the US-based company and the Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC), a public sector company and to investigate the circumstances under which it was signed.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)