RAMESWARAM: Taking up the problems faced by Tamil Nadu fishermen with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was at Rameswaram to inaugurate the memorial of late President APJ Abdul Kalam on Thursday, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami summed up the present condition of the fishermen thus: “The waves of Rameswaram are at peace; but not the lives of fishermen here.”
Speaking at the inaugural of memorial for Kalam at Pekarumbu near Rameswaram, he said there were around three lakh fishermen in 305 villages in five coastal districts along Palk Bay who depended upon fishing as their livelihood, but they were facing numerous problems.
Thanking the prime minister for ensuring the release of 2,664 fishermen and 357 fishing boats, which were under Lankan custody during the past six years, the Chief Minister reiterated his demand that the Prime Minister should persuade the island nation for the release of 75 fishermen and 149 fishing boats at the earliest. Of the Rs 99.91 crore earmarked for beautifying important tourist spots in Tamil Nadu, Rs 15.86 crore had been allocated for Rameswaram. Palaniswami said the State government had evolved a scheme to improve the infrastructure facilities at Rameswaram at an estimated expenditure of Rs 78.17 crore. “The Central government should approve this as a special urban development scheme,” he said.
Recalling that the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had been pressing for the special assistance of Rs 1,520 crore for diversifying fisheries activity in Palk Bay, Palaniswami thanked the Prime Minister for extending Rs 200 crore this year for conversion of bottom trawlers to deep sea long liners.
Stating that the works on establishing a fish landing centre at Kuthukal in Ramanathapuram district would be taken up with the Central government share, the Chief Minister urged the Prime Minister to release the central share of funds for the fishing harbour being set up at Mokkaiyur.