CHENNAI : Describing yet another incident of arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy as high-handedness of Sri Lanka, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, on Monday, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to secure the immediate release of 53 fishermen and 144 fishing boats under Lankan custody, including those arrested on July 8.
Bringing to the notice of the Prime Minister, the arrest of three more fishermen in a fishing boat from Jegathapattinam in Pudukottai district on July 8, Palaniswamy said the government of India should take a firm diplomatic stand with the Lankan government. In this connection, he also referred to the recent Bill passed by the Sri Lankan parliament for levying hefty fine on fishermen fishing in Palk Bay.
Recalling the package of `200 crore sanctioned by the Centre for diversification of fishing in the Palk Bay, which meant conversion of the trawling boats of the Palk Bay to long-liner boats, the Chief Minister said that the Tamil Nadu government was strongly assisting fishermen in the conversion of their boats.
The State government is also building a harbour at Mookaiyur to enable relocation of trawlers from Palk Bay to the Gulf of Mannar.
“In this scenario, when the Government of India as well as the Tamil Nadu government are making all possible efforts to bring an amicable solution to the fishing issues in the Palk Bay, Sri Lanka’s response is not only disappointing but also a showcase of its high-handedness,” Palaniswami said.