Udupi, Sep 25 2019: Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat said on Sept 24, Tuesday that industries, on the pretext of paying GST, are procuring fish at a lesser price from fishermen. Now, the GST council has waived dues to the tune of Rs 600 crore, owners of fishmeal industries should give benefit of this amount to fishermen.
MLA told reporters that the fishmeal industries had cited the GST burden in order to procure fish at reduced prices – Rs 4 per kg – from fishermen. “With Union Finance Minister Nirmala Seetharaman waiving GST dues till September, 22 fishmeal industries in Karnataka have saved Rs 300 crore. The industries should see the money due benefits fishermen,” he urged.
Fishmeal industries opposing GST had stopped purchasing fish from the fishermen. The protest, which dealt a huge blow to the fishing industry, forced the chief minister to meet Nirmala Seetharaman and submit a memorandum on waiving GST dues that were pending by fishmeal industries. Other states, including Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra, had made similar demands in their letters to the GST council, Bhat pointed out.
“The Union Finance Minister agreed on the waiver of dues. As majority of the fishmeal is supplied from Karnataka, the fishermen deserve a part in the profits,” he said and added that the waiver of dues was possible due to the efforts of Pejawar Mutt pontiff Sri Vishwesha Theetha Swami, MP Shobha Karandlaje and fishermen leaders.
On the missing Suvarna Tribhuja issue, MLA said a delegation of fishermen will meet the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh within a fortnight. He said, “The chief minister had promised to clear the pending loan of Rs 28 lakh. The chief minister had also promised to pay Rs 11 lakh each to the seven fishermen families.”