CHENNAI: The fisheries and aquatic department of Sri Lanka will be auctioning 105 fishing boats seized from Tamil Nadu fishermen over the years. The department has already issued advertisements in newspapers in the island nation calling for bidders to participate in the auction.
The advertisement stated that 65 boats would be auctioned on February 7 at Karaignagar in Jaffna district. Five boats will be auctioned on February 8 at Kangesanthurai in Jaffna district, 24 boats to be auctioned at Kiranchi in Killinoi district on February 9, nine boats at Thalaimannar in Mannar district on February 10, and two boats would be auctioned at Kalpitiya in Puttalam district on February 11. In total 105 boats are to be auctioned.
Officials of the Tamil Nadu fisheries department said that the Sri Lankan government would be selling the fishing boat for scrap value as most of the boats would have rusted for not being properly maintained during the period of custody.
It may be noted that the Sri Lankan naval personnel had arrested several fishermen from Ramanathapuram, Nagapattinam, Mandapam, Pudukottai, Myladuthurai, and Thanjavur areas of Tamil Nadu along with their fishing boats for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
B. Balamurugan, President, Jegathapattinam Fisher's association while speaking to IANS said, "The auctioning to be conducted by the Sri Lankan government must be stopped and government of India must intervene as early as it could. The auctioning would kill the hopes of hundreds of fishermen who want their boats back. This would kill the livelihood of fishermen and the government will not be able to compensate. Immediate intervention by the Government of India is the need of the hour."
PMK leader Dr S. Ramadoss condemned the decision of the Sri Lankan government to auction the livelihood of fishermen and said that the island nation does not have any right to auction the boats. He said that this was an insult to India which had sought the release of the boats taken into custody along with the fishermen.