Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take immediate diplomatic measures with the authorities in Sri Lanka and arrange for an early release of the 135 fishing boats and 11 fishermen currently in neighbouring island nation’s custody, the Deccan Chronicle reported.
In a letter to Modi, Palaniswami said that 135 fishing boats belonging to fishermen from Tamil Nadu, of which 61 were apprehended in 2015, 53 were apprehended in 2016 and 21 were apprehended in 2017, continue to remain impounded in Sri Lankan custody.
Palaniswami said that Sri Lankan Government is following a deft strategy of not releasing the fishing boats thereby pushing our fishermen into a poverty stricken state, depriving them of their only means of livelihood.
“It has been pointed out many times that these fishing boats are perilously berthed and are in imminent threat of irreparable damage due to long periods of disuse and the onslaught of the monsoon”, he said adding hopes of release arose when the Government of Sri Lanka had committed to considering the release of the boats, which has rapidly dissipated as no decision has been taken so far in this regard.
“I request you to kindly take up this issue urgently with the concerned authorities in Sri Lanka and arrange for an early release of the 135 fishing boats and 11 fishermen currently in Sri Lankan custody”, the chief minister said. (Colombo Gazette)