In 2017, over 42 boats out of the 216 boats in the Sri Lankan custody were released. The fishermen were only able to retrieve 32 of the 42 boats as the remaining ten were damaged beyond repair. Now, the Sri Lankan government has sent a letter to the Indian External Affairs Ministry on June 13 stating that they are ready to release ten other boats instead of the ones that was not retrieved in 2017.
Fishermen and a rescue team headed by Additional Director Fisheries Manikandan are getting set to leave for Sri Lanka to retrieve the boats. The fishermen in the region are demanding that the remaining 174 boats in the Sri Lankan custody must be released and added that each boat costs Indian Rs 8 to 10 lakh.
On July 4, the Indo-Sri Lankan officials are to meet in Delhi and the Tamil fishermen are demanding that their issues be discussed. They also want their remaining boats to be released.
“We will go and check the boats in Sri Lanka but we demand that all our boats in the Sri Lankan custody be released,” said Jesuraj, fishermen leader from Rameshwaram.
The Sri Lankan fishermen too are of the opinion that the boats in Sri Lankan custody either be dispose off or returned to Indian fishermen.
“These seized boats are docked in our shore and it is so difficult for us to go to the sea for fishing. The tied boats tend to move astray and hit with the neighbouring damaging the docked boats as well as ours,” said a Sri Lankan fisherman.