CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government has urged the Centre to facilitate early release of 105 fishing boats belonging to the State’s fishermen under the custody of the Sri Lankan Government and relief assistance to the owners of 18 boats that were damaged under the island nation’s custody.
In a letter written to the Foreign Secretary on November 10, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Dr P Rama Mohana Rao said, “I request you to impress upon the Government of Sri Lanka to secure the early release of 105 fishing boats which are sustaining serious damages in Sri Lankan custody and return the boats in a refurbished condition.” The copies of the letter were released here on Monday.
He also requested the Union government to suitably compensate the fishermen for their losses and provide necessary assistance to rebuild their lost means of livelihood and noted the cost of each fishing boat is around Rs. 25 lakh.
Expressing disappointment over the Centre’s failure to duly compensate the fishermen, he said, “Despite the repeated appeals by the Chief Minister, the Government of India is yet to agree to bear the losses suffered by the Indian fishermen.”
Rao recalled that Sri Lankan government apprehended and impounded a total of 158 boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen in 2014.
Explaining the long battle, including the legal hassles, waged for getting the Sri Lankan courts’ order to release the boats, he said 64 boats were salvaged last year and 16 damaged beyond retrieval while another two sank while engaged in fishing.