A meeting chaired by fisheries minister Abhayachandra Jain was convened at DC’s office here on Monday June 13 to discuss issues and problems faced by fishermen. Work on the third phase of fisheries harbour in the city was one of the issues that dominated the meeting. The officials informed the minister that there were obstacles from the finance department as only Rs 11 crore out of the Rs 43-crore grant from the central government had been released so far, and the rest Rs 32 crore was still pending. “The finance ministry has informed that no further funds could be released until the union government releases its grant. This has caused delay in the work, as the contractors cannot be paid,” they said. In response, minister Jain said, “We cannot waste time in blame games. The work undertaken should be completed. There are about three MPs from this region, let us take a delegation to Delhi and I will also join you. Let us request the union government to release the pending grants. Let us take another delegation of MLAs to meet the chief minister and make necessary changes. The finance department cannot stop projects like this, development cannot be undertaken this way.” Nithin Kumar, one of the fishermen at the meeting urged the minister to increase the quantity of subsidized diesel to 500 liters from the current 300 liters and also requested him to take action against the boats of other states which are fishing in the Karnataka border despite the ban on fishing for 60 days. Fisheries department director Veerappa Gowda replied, “We have been keeping eye on the other state boats which are fishing in this ban period. We have already written to the fisheries departments of neighboring states.” Geetabhai, a fish vendor in the State Bank fish market complained about irregularities in the market and requested to take necessary action, to which Mangaluru South MLA J R Lobo replied, “Indeed there are many problems in the State Bank fish market. The roof, flooring and drains are in bad state. We have sent a proposal to the National Fisheries Development Corporation develop this market. Dry fish market on the other side is also facing many problems. Bamboo bazaar has been built on the drain which is causing a lot of problems. Why are you (officials) not taking any action?” Lobo also directed the MCC officials and the fisheries officials to jointly initiate a drive and take necessary actions. Deputy commissioner A B Ibrahim and others were present.