Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks about creating a fisheries ministry, reported NDTV.
Gandhi had on February 17 talked about the need for a separate fisheries ministry. After this, several Union ministers, including Giriraj Singh and Kiren Rijiju, had criticised the Congress leader, pointing out that the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying already existed.
The Congress leader repeated his promise to form a central ministry dedicated to the fisherfolk of the country on Wednesday. He made the comments during a meeting with the fishing community in Kollam city’s Thangassery area.
“I was absolutely shocked to hear a Congress leader come and say they want to start a fisheries ministry because there is none,” Modi said on Thursday at a Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Puducherry. “The truth is that it already exists. The current NDA [National Democratic Alliance] government has already set up a fisheries ministry back in 2019 itself.”
At the BJP rally, Modi also took a dig at the Congress party, claiming that its functioning was similar to the British rule in India. “Our colonial rulers had the policy of divide and rule,” Modi said. “Congress has a policy of divide, lie, and rule. Sometimes their leaders put region against region, community against community.”
He also alleged that the Congress in Puducherry had “different priorities’’ than public welfare, reported PTI. The prime minister alleged that the people of Puducherry do not deserve a “high command” government serving only a few Congress leaders. He assured the crowd that the National Democratic Alliance, if voted to power in the coming elections, would treat people as its high command.
‘Need dedicated ministry,’ says Gandhi
Meanwhile, Gandhi stuck to his stand and insisted on the need of a “ministry” and not a “department for fisheries”.
“Dear PM, Fisherfolk need an independent and dedicated ministry of fisheries, not just a department within a ministry,” he said in a tweet. “PS- “Hum do Humare do” obviously hurt bad (sic).”
The official website of the department of fisheries mentions that it is “is one of the two departments under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying”. It says that the department came into existence “through carving out Fishery Division from the erstwhile Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries”.
The department is headed by Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying Giriraj Singh, and has two ministers of state, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan and Pratap Chandra Sarangi.
PM Modi flags off number of projects
At Puducherry, the prime minister also lay the foundation stone for various projects in Puducherry. At the event, he said that his government has made efforts to improve rural and coastal connectivity that will benefit the agriculture sector. “It is our duty to ensure their [farmers’] produce gets good markets,” Modi said. “Good roads do exactly that. The four-laning of the road will also draw industries in this area and generate job opportunities for local youth.”
He said that the healthcare sector will play an important role in the coming years and the countries that have invested in it will shine. Modi said that he was inaugurating the blood centre in the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Puducherry, keeping the importance of the healthcare sector in mind.
“This new facility will accommodate advanced facilities for long term storage of blood, blood products and stem cells banking,” he said. “The facility will function as a research laboratory and a training centre for personnel training in all aspects of transfusion.” The prime minister also pointed out that the healthcare sector received a boost in this year’s Union Budget.
He said that India has made efforts in the last seven years to improve fitness and wellness as he laid the foundation stone for 400 meters synthetic athletic track at a sports complex in the Union Territory. “This is a part of the Khelo India scheme,” Modi said. “It will nurture sporting talent among the youth of India.”
The prime minister also laid the foundation stone for the Puducherry Port Development under the Sagarmala Scheme. He said that port, once completed, will provide connectivity to Chennai. “This will facilitate the cargo movement for industries of Puducherry and ease load on Chennai port,” he said. “It will open up possibilities of passenger traffic among the coastal cities.”
Modi also praised the Union Territory for promoting Direct Benefit Transfer to beneficiaries under various welfare schemes. “This makes people empowered in making their choices.” he said. “Puducherry has got rich human resources because of various educational institutions present, both in government and private sector.”
V Narayanasamy-led Congress, which had run the government till the past few days, was thrown into a crisis by a string of resignations just months before the elections, and lost its majority in the Assembly on Monday. Fresh elections would be held in the Union territory.