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Bill for welfare of fishermen

Special Correspondent

Provides for Rs.1 lakh to kin in the event of accidental death

CHENNAI: Fisheries Minister K.P.P. Samy introduced in the Assembly on Tuesday a Bill to set up a fishermen's welfare board for providing comprehensive social security and ensuring the well being of fishermen and labourers engaged in fishing and allied activities.

The Government has set apart Rs. 5 crore for the Board. Its members will be nominated from among fishermen, labourers and employers. The chairman will be from among those nominated to represent the Government. The Fisheries Director will be its member secretary.

The Bill provides for a relief of Rs. 1 lakh to the next of kin in the event of the accidental death of a fisherman or the labourers in defined allied activities.

Allied activity workers include those employed as beach workers, peeling workers, processing labourers, boat-building yard workers, net mending workers or small-scale fish distributors.

If the members lose both hands or both legs or one leg and one hand or suffer irrecoverable loss of sight, they will qualify for assistance of Rs. 1 lakh. Loss of one hand or one leg will entitle them to an assistance of Rs. 50,000. If death occurs while fishing or immediately thereafter (not because of an accident), the next of kin will be entitled to Rs. 20,000 compensation.

If fishermen go missing while fishing, the next of kin will get Rs. 1 lakh. The Board will also offer financial aid for education to sons and daughters of the members beginning with Rs. 1,250 (for boys, Class 10 pass) to Rs. 6,750 (for girls staying in hostels doing post-graduate professional courses). There is also a marriage assistance scheme for members and their dependents.

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