DMK welcomes Lanka’s efforts on fishing issue

karunanidhiWelcoming Sri Lanka’s efforts to solve the fishing dispute in Palk Strait, India’s DMK today urged the Centre to take steps for bilateral talks involving fishermen of the island nation and India and bring about a lasting solution to the vexed issue, the Press Trust of India reported.

Referring to a meeting between fishermen association representatives from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan President Maithiripala Sirisena yesterday, DMK chief M Karunanidhi also welcomed Colombo’s decision to release 37 detained fishermen from the state.

The Lankan President had assured to take steps to hold talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka to solve the fishing dispute in Palk Strait, a narrow sea strip separating the two countries, he said.

“This brings much relief to the Indian fishermen. Following this positive announcement from the Sri Lankan President, the Centre, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi, should make arrangements for bilateral talks involving fishermen to enable them arrive at a lasting solution for the long-standing problem,” he said in a statement.

While Sri Lankan Navy regularly arrests fishermen from Tamil Nadu on the charge of poaching, the latter maintain they have traditional rights to fish in Palk Strait.

Already three rounds of bilateral talks involving the fishermen have been held in Chennai and Colombo, but a solution has remained elusive so far.

The former chief minister also welcomed the Centre’s move referring to a Joint Committee of Parliament, the controversial Land Acquisition Bill, which has faced stiff resistance from opposition parties and BJP’s own allies.