Kerala Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday dismissed opposition allegations that the government has entered into an offshore fishing contract agreement with a US-based firm, saying no foreign company will be allowed to be involved in deep-sea trawlers in state waters.
Mr Vijayan affirmed that his government will not deviate from its fisheries policy and will continue to encourage traditional fishermen to become “owners of deep-sea fishing vessels”.
“We will continue with our fisheries policy designed in 2019 to encourage fishermen in the state to become owners of deep sea fishing vessels. Under government policy, no foreign company or Indian corporation will be allowed to trawl in “deep sea along the Kerala coast,” he told a news conference.
Mr Vijayan also responded to allegations made by the Opposition Leader earlier in the day that the Prime Minister could not have known of such a project when KSINC, under his direct control, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a firm based in SH.BA
“Neither the state government nor any of its departments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard. KSINC is a public sector enterprise. It is normal for such enterprises to sign a Memorandum of Understanding at any conference or investment meeting. “The government came for consideration only later. A political decision in this regard will be taken only then,” Mr Vijayan said.
He said such agreements should be brought to the attention of the government at the implementation stage.
“But in this case, the officials concerned had not brought it to the notice of the government,” he added.
“Indeed, a memorandum submitted by the company to the industries department was actually now being propagated by the opposition as a contract agreement,” Mr Vijayan said, adding that it was an attempt by the opposition to create a smoke screen of claims. before Assembly polls
The prime minister also dismissed Congress, saying it was the Narasimha Rao government that had allowed foreign corporations to engage in sea urchins along the country’s coast.
“However, this is not our policy. We fought against the policy of Congress by helping corporations to exploit deep-sea fisheries. This government is driven forward by such policies that oppose corporations,” Mr Vijayan said.
The opposition Congress and the Left government continued to discuss the alleged deep-sea fishing contract, although Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma denied the allegations and stated that there was no such agreement.
The minister accused Chennithala of trying to “trick” the fishing community by making baseless allegations ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s expected visit to the Kollam coastal district next week.
Earlier in the day, Chennithala released a photo of Mercykutty allegedly holding discussions with representatives of EMCC International.
Chennithala claimed that the photo, which showed the minister, EMCC International officials and the fisheries department, was evidence of the discussion between the government and the US-based company.
At a press conference, he claimed there was a meeting between the minister and company representatives in New York as well, photos of which were expected to be available soon.
He also released what he called “documentary evidence” – a concept note submitted by the company to the fisheries department and a letter sent by the chief fisheries secretary to the EMCC president on the controversial project.
Although the minister acknowledged that EMCC officials had met her here, she maintained her previous position that there was no such meeting in New York, as claimed by the opposition.
The “Fisheries State” policy was formulated in 2019 after discussion with all unions and other stockholders. “Under government policy, no foreign company or Indian corporation will be allowed to trawl deep-sea,” she said.
The policy even says that the number of fishing vessels will be regulated, she said, adding that no action would be taken in violation of this.
The photos came to light a day after the state government had dismissed as “baseless” its allegations of corruption in an agreement signed by state-owned Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) with US-based EMCC International. sea fishing.
“It has now been proven that whatever the minister had said was a clear lie.”
“Company officials have already confirmed to the media that they had held discussions with him in New York also about this. Photos of that meeting are also expected to be available soon,” Chennithala said here on Saturday.
The Congress leader claimed that there was more abundant evidence to confirm that Mercykutty Amma had held discussions with the US-based firm and that Industry Minister EP Jayarajan was well aware of the project and claimed that the Left government had shown interest in great to push it forward.