Ace tennis player and Trinamool Congress leader Leander Paes, who is being billed as the party’s face for the 2022 Goa Assembly polls, on Thursday erroneously referred to the coastal state as an island on his first day on campaign trail in South Goa.
Olympic bronze medallist Paes, who joined the Trinamool last month, also made a pitch for subsidising equipment and other gear for fishermen in Goa, while lamenting the lack of patrolling of the state’s water for illegal fishing, which he said was one of the reasons which had caused 85 per cent slump in fish catch over the last decade.
“Goa is such a beautiful big island. One of the main businesses of Goa is fishery. The fisherfolk make up the whole island. While we have many issues in Goa, the fisherfolk have some major issues,” Paes said in a video message circulated by the Trinamool, erroneously referring to Goa as an island twice.
Goa, India’s smallest state, is located along the country’s west coast.
Paes, who was born in Kolkata but shares Goan heritage, started his election campaign along South Goa’s coastal belt on Thursday.
Stating that fisherfolk in the state are plagued by major issues, Paes said, “One is the bull trawling that is done, where big nets are thrown and big fish are taken in huge numbers. Also, when boats come from other states and use LED lights to attract the fish.”
He also said that the seas off Goa need to be patrolled better in order to prevent fisherfolk from neighbouring states from poaching in the seas of the state.
“There is so much work that can be done for the fisherfolk, like patrolling of waters to make sure that our Goan boats, our Goan fisherfolk get the proper fish,” he said.
Paes also said that there is a need to provide adequate subsidies to the fisherfolk.
“I feel that we can give them subsidised rates to buy equipment, whether they are nets, fishing equipment or boats. They should also be given subsidised rates to repair those equipment. It is not just about one time buying,” Paes said.
“There is no handholding of professional organised businesses to follow up and continue the livelihoods of the fisher people. I feel that giving them subsidised rates for their equipment and for their repair is required,” he added.
Paes also claimed that the fishing catch in the state had shrunk by 85 per cent over the last decade.