Around 1.23 lakh beneficiaries of the Matsyakara Bharosa (MB) scheme are waiting for the State government to immediately pay the scheme’s financial assistance of ₹20,000 to each beneficiary as announced in the election manifesto.

The government had released ₹123.52 crore to 1,23,519 beneficiaries (each ₹10,000) across the State under the MB scheme to each fisherman family on May 16 last year for the annual ban on sea fishing (April 15 to June 14). The amount likely to be doubled this time, around ₹250 crore.

Arjilli Dasu, general secretary of the National Fishermen’s Forum, said that although the ban period is almost over, the fishermen have not received any financial assistance under the MB scheme as on June 12.

“The NDA coalition government promised ₹20,000 to each beneficiary under MB scheme as soon as it comes to power. We hope that Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu will provide financial assistance of ₹20,000 to each beneficiary by the end of this month,” said Mr. Das.

Speaking to The Hindu, Visakhapatnam District Fisheries Department Joint Director G. Vijaya, “We have not received any orders from the government so far to provide financial assistance under the MB scheme to the fishermen for this year. Last year, ₹10,000 was given to each beneficiary. We are waiting for the government’s instructions.”

Visakhapatnam district alone has 2,547 boats (including 749 mechanised) which are preparing to go into the deep sea from June 14th midnight after the end of 61-day fishing ban. Therefore, the crew of these boats will be the beneficiaries of the MB scheme as per the eligibility conditions.

Despite the delay in the financial assistance of the MB scheme due to the elections, the fishermen understood the situation and were engaged in various prohibition period activities during these 61 days. Some include repairing boats, loading ice, painting ships and doing other maintenance works, said a boat owner V. Shankar at Peda Jalaripeta.

Andhra Pradesh Mechanised Fishing Boat Operators Association president Vasupalli Janakiram said that after the ban is lifted on June 14, around 70% fishermen are likely to go into the sea for the fishing, while the rest may do so in July.