Sri Lanka auctioning seized vessels of Tamil Nadu fishermen
According to reports, around 135 Indian boats will be auctioned across five ports in Sri Lanka.
NEW DELHI: Fishing boats that have been impounded by a Court Order in Colombo were put on auction on February 7th.
These vessels are owned by fishermen from Tamil Nadu and are expected to be auctioned across five ports in Sri Lanka. The auctions are likely to continue till February 11. Those who have shown interest in the auction have to pay an entry fee of Rs 1000 (Sri Lankan rupee).
According to reports, there are around 135 Indian boats that have been detained in Jaffna (Kytes). It is understood that one 88-feet trawler was sold for Rs 3.5 million (in Sri Lankan Rupee) on the first day of the auction.
Meanwhile, as per Sri Lanka’s Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) nearly 94 cases involving fisherman from India and their seized boats have been filed in the Kytes Magistrate Court, 2 at the Mallakam Magistrate Court and 5 at the Point Pedro Magistrate Court.
Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M K Stalin had raised this issue with India’s Ministry of External Affairs in a bid to get the boats back to the fishermen.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to Indian Extern Affairs Ministry, urging them to intervene and get the boats back to their owners without letting them go to auction.
The Indian High Commission in Colombo has stated: "At the outlet, it is stressed that there is an existing bilateral understanding between the Government of India and Government of Sri Lanka on the matter. In accordance with this understanding, a team from the State of Tamil Nadu, India, was to visit Sri Lanka regarding modalities to finalize disposal of unsalvageable Indian fishing boats in Sri Lanka. The High Commission has recently again sought necessary clearance from Government of Sri Lanka for the visit.”
Till the team from Tamil Nadu gets clearance and reaches Colombo, it is pertinent for the Sri Lankan authorities to exercise a freeze on the auction as the fisherman back in Tamil Nadu would loose their livelihoods if their trawlers are sold.