Ahmedabad, Monday: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today announced constitution of a high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary to form of a new district of Gir-Somnath, besides a number of projects for all round development and empowerment of fishing community, locally called ‘sagarkhedu’, living in the coastal region of the state.
Addressing a huge gathering of sagarkhedus at Somnath near the famous Jyotirlinga temple facing the Arabian Sea, he said the new district would come into being with effect from January 26, 2013. Earlier, he offered Monday prayer at the historic Somnath Temple in the auspicious month of Shravan.
Gujarat’s state-level 66th Independence Day celebration will held at Junagadh this year.
He laid foundation stone for four water supply and underground sewer projects for Veraval, Kodinar and Una towns costing Rs.228-crore. He dedicated Rs.244-crore development projects for Veraval, Una and Sutrapada.
Other announcements include Re.200-crore diesel subsidy on VAT for nearly 11,000 mechanized boats to be borne entirely by the State Government. This is in sharp contrast to the Centre reducing kerosene quota by 30 percent for fishermen of Gujarat.
Mr. Modi announced setting up a new fishing port at Sutrapada and to undertake development of other fishing ports in the Saurashtra coast, from Jafrabad in the east to Bhadeli and Okha in the west, Veraval and Porbandar phase-2 and Mangrol phase-3.
He recalled the State Government has spent about Rs.11,000-crore on development projects for 60-lakh sagarkhedus living in 3,000 villages along the seacoast in the first five years. Another Rs.21,000-crore is now being spent on them.
Mr. Modi recalled that Gujarat seacoast, which was once the landing point for smugglers during the Congress rule, is now humming with shipping and fishing activity for the last ten years. He announced a rise in the daily allowance for the family members of Gujarat fishermen languishing in Pakistan Jails from Rs.50 to Rs.150.
He regretted that Central Government doesn’t have the guts to fight terrorism or sentence Pakistani terrorists like Kasab or free Indian fishermen in their custody. He announced training programme for youth belonging to the sagarkhedu community and priority to them in recruitment in Gujarat Government’s Marine Police Force. Under Mission Mangalam Project, he announced plan to set up 5,000 Sakhi Mandalis to provide training and bank linkage to women to grow see-weed for their economic empowerment.
Mr. Modi handed over cheques of Rs.1-lakh to Deviben, Krishnaben and Ritaben each under fishermen group insurance scheme. He distributed insulated box to fisherwomen Hasinaben and Juluben, and lifesaving jackets to fishermen.
Prominent among those present on the occasion included Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Dilip Sanghani, Parliamentary Secretary L.T. Rajani, legislators Rajsi Jethwa, Vandanaben Makwana, Kalubhai Rathod and Bhagwanji Kargatia, Veraval Nagarpalika President Manjuben Gohel, Takuka Panchayat President Manjuben Rathod, BJP District President Madhabhai Boria, BJP City President Mohan Dakshini, ex-Union Minister Bhavna Chikhalia, Veraval Kharwa community head Dhanjibhai, All India Fishermen Association Secretary Tulsi Gohil, Seafood Expo Association Secretary Jagdish Fofandi, Principal Secretary Kailashnathan, In-charge Secretary Vipul Mitra, Fisheries Secretary Dinesh Brahmabhat, Fisheries Commissioner Darbar, District Collector Manish Bharadwaj and DDO Dilip Rana.
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