CHENNAI: Expressing serious concern over the increase in the frequency of apprehensions and abductions of fishermen by the Lankan Navy, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has sought the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the immediate release of 47 fishermen and 57 fishing boats including six fishermen and their fishing boats apprehended on December 19.
The Chief Minister also reiterated her request to expedite the return of four fishermen and their motorised craft that was stranded on Lankan shores on November 8 due to mechanical failure.
The Chief Minister, in her letter dated December 20 to the Prime Minister, said these recurrent instances of attacks upon, and abductions of, Tamil Nadu fishermen on the high seas in the Palk Bay should be stopped immediately and they should be allowed to pursue their peaceful avocation of fishing in their traditional fishing waters of Palk Bay.
“Long period of disuse and the exposure to the onslaught of an exceptionally strong north-east monsoon this year would have inflicted severe damages to the boats and equipment that are lying in Lankan custody. The poor fishermen who are currently suffering a temporary loss of livelihood, will now be subjected to a huge permanent livelihood loss due to damage to the fishing boats,” the Chief Minister said and requested the Centre to take necessary action to restore in a refurbished condition the boats and fishing gear of these poor fishermen.
Reiterating Tamil Nadu government’s view that the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Lanka could not be treated as a settled question, she said the Comprehensive Special Package for deep sea fishing and infrastructure at a cost of `1,520 crore was still awaiting the approval of the Central government.