Financial aid for family of fishers who die at sea will be given in six months, says Kerala Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian

The Minister inaugurates group accident insurance scheme adalat and compensation disbursal programme organised by the Fisheries department in Thiruvananthapuram

The State government will ensure that financial assistance for the family of fishers who die in accidents at sea is disbursed within six months, Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian has said.

He was inaugurating a group accident insurance scheme adalat and compensation disbursal programme organised by the Fisheries department in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

“Fisheries officers will be responsible for the timely disbursement of benefits, including financial assistance. Nodal officers will be appointed in the Fisheries department and the Kerala Fishermen Welfare Fund Board (KFWFB) for the purpose,” said Mr. Cherian.

The Minister said insurance cover would be made mandatory for all fishers venturing into the sea and the complete details of crew members must be reported to the relevant authorities. “This is essential in coordinating rescue operations and the fishers should not be negligent about it,” he said.

Mr. Cherian also instructed the Fisheries officials to understand the limitations of the fishing community and act accordingly. “We have noticed a delay in disbursal of benefits and this will not be allowed. If a family did not receive the assistance within six months, the officer concerned will have to give an explanation. This will be followed by an intervention at the ministerial level,” he added.

Deal with firms

Observing that the family of fishers who go missing in the sea are eligible for the aid only after seven years according to Central norms, he said the government would consider providing insurance coverage within six months. “The period of seven years is fixed by the Centre, and very often it causes great inconvenience to the kin. We will reach an agreement with the insurance companies about it.”

Under the scheme, the government will be providing financial assistance to 52 beneficiaries, which include 50 fishers who lost their lives at sea and two others who were permanently disabled.

Fishers belonging to Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kottayam districts received the aid at the event. The Minister examined the applications of fishers from these districts who are yet to receive the benefits at the adalat.

Transport Minister Antony Raju, who presided over the function, said the government resolved several issues faced by the fishing community in the last six months. No one will be allowed to delay the disbursal benefits by raising unnecessary objections, he said.

Fisheries secretary Tinku Biswal, director R. Girija and KFWFB chairman C.P. Kunhiraman were among those present.

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