Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa on Thursday lashed out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for shaking hands with Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, instead of taking steps to get the Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by the Lankan navy released.
Addressing an election rally here, Jayalalithaa said “I had sent several letters requesting the Prime Minister to take efforts to free the apprehended fishermen. The Prime Minister has neither replied to the letters nor taken action to release our fishermen. Instead of condemning the recent arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen who are also Indian citizens, the Prime Minister was shaking hands with Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Do we need such an irresponsible Prime Minister?” she asked.
“It is due to my strenuous efforts that several fishermen languishing in Lankan prisons were freed ahead of the first round of bilateral talks held in Chennai on January 27, 2014. With the second round of talks scheduled to be held in Lanka on March 13, the island government should release the fishermen apprehended recently from the coastal hamlets of the State,” she said.
Retrieving Katchatheevu island would be the permanent solution for the ongoing dispute between the two countries, Jayalalithaa said and asserted that an AIADMK-inclusive Union Government would pursue efforts to retrieve the island.
The AIADMK chief recalled her government’s success in gazetting the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final order and asserted that a government which included the AIADMK at the Centre would constitute the Cauvery Management Board to protect the rights of delta farmers.
Flaying the Congress-led UPA government and its erstwhile ally, the DMK, for failing to take efforts for publishing the final award in the gazette or for constituting the Cauvery Management Board, she asked: “What are the noteworthy efforts taken by the Congress and DMK to ensure Tamil Nadu’s rights over Cauvery despite forming governments twice in 2004 and 2009?”
Listing out the development projects by the AIADMK government for Nagapattinam constituency, including the Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) terminal and a natural gas power plant, besides the construction of fishing harbours at Nagore and Seruthur coastal hamlets, Jayalalithaa appealed to the people to vote for AIADMK. candidate Dr K Gopal.
‘Will Ban Field Trials of GM Crops’
Earlier, while campaigning for Mayiladuthurai Lok Sabha constituency AIADMK candidate R K Bharathimohan at Kalakasthinathapuram, Jayalalithaa came down heavily on the hasty decision of the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests to permit field trials of genetically modified crops and said that the permission would be revoked once the new Union Government in which the AIADMK would be a part, assumed charge. “This decision may be favourable to the multinational companies manufacturing seeds but definitely bring misery to the farmers,” she said and added that the genetically modified crops would wreak havoc on the health of consumers and the environment.