CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take urgent steps to ensure the repatriation of 63 Indian fishermen now stranded in Saudi Arabia and being prevented from returning home.
The stranded fishermen include two from Kanyakumari district, five from Cuddalore district, seven from Nagapattinam district, 46 from Ramanathapuram district, two from Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu and one from Kerala.
The Chief Minister said since the families of poor fishermen were anxious about their safety, the Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia should be directed to take up the issue at the highest level and ensure the immediate repatriation of these innocent fisherfolk.
“Further, our authorities in Saudi Arabia should also ensure that necessary steps are taken to enable the fishermen to receive their wages rightfully due to them as per the terms of their contract,” she said in her letter to the Prime Minister dated April 1.
She said these fishermen went to Jubail in Saudi Arabia on contract with a private company, M/s. Yusuf Khaleel al Ameeri Al Khalidhi on different dates from 2013 onwards. However, the company had not been paying the fishermen their share from the fishing catch as per the terms of employment.
As such, these fishermen were struggling to meet their daily needs and were unable to send money to their dependent families back home.“Having lost hope of receiving fair remuneration from their employers, these 63 fishermen requested the company to enable their return to India.
Their passports are in the custody of the company which is now neither allowing them to work nor return to India," the Chief Minister pointed out.