Tamil Nadu CM seeks Modi’s help to release fishermen
February 28, 2015 12:03 pm
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday sought urgent intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the early release of fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their boats held by Sri Lankan Navy on February 26.
“It is unfortunate that this incident has taken place even after the change of regime in Sri Lanka. The festive mood on the eve of St. Antony’s Festival in Katchatheevu has been completely vitiated by the actions of the Lankan Navy,” the Chief Minister said in his letter to the Prime Minister.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said the fishermen in Tamil Nadu were also eagerly awaiting the return of the 81 fishing boats which were in Lankan custody for a long time and had been recently released following concerted efforts by the State government.
Panneerselvam said nearly 10 lakh fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu depended on marine fishing as their only source of livelihood. Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had taken a number of steps for diversifying their activities to minimize pressure on the marine ecosystem.
Reiterating the view that a two-pronged approach was needed to solve the problem, the Chief Minister said the first one would be sanctioning a financial package of `1520 crores and a recurring grant of `10 crores a year for maintenance dredging, that would go a long way in improving the socioeconomic status of fishermen.
The second one would be the abrogation of the 1974 and 1976 agreements and retrieval of Katchatheevu as well as restoration of the traditional and historical fishing grounds of Palk Bay to Tamil Nadu fishermen.
The ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka had been challenged on valid and legal grounds by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in her personal capacity and also by Tamil Nadu government in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the PMK and MMK condemned the arrest of the fishermen and demanded their release. - Express News Service