Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene for a transparent disposal of 125 fishing boats apprehended by Sri Lanka.In a letter to Modi on Monday, text of which was released to the media, Stalin strongly urged that the Indian government should prevail upon the Sri Lankan Government to recall the advertisement published by its Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Government of Sri Lanka for auctioning the Tamil Nadu fishing boats on which they do not have any legal rights."In this context, I also request the Government of India to continue the efforts for the transparent disposal of 125 Tamil Nadu boats that were apprehended before 2018. It is also requested to ensure the early release of 75 boats and fishing gears apprehended after 2018 by the Sri Lankan Navy," Stalin said.
Expressing his deep sense of disappointment at the auctioning process by the Lankan government, Stalin said the unfortunate development has come at a time when the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Working Group on Fisheries is due to meet again shortly.The Lankan action has created alarm and distrust among the Tamil Nadu fishermen, who have come forward with an accommodative frame of mind to find an amicable solution for this long pending issue, Stalin remarked.According to Stalin, the Ministry of External Affairs, had requested the state government, through the High Commission of India to send a technical team to finalise the process and modalities for disposal of 125 unsalvageable Tamil Nadu fishing boats berthed in various harbours of Sri Lanka.
"Accordingly, the Government of Tamil Nadu had also issued orders for deputing officials and stakeholders from Tamil Nadu to inspect and oversee the disposal of fishing boats and to transfer the sale proceeds to the owners of these boats back in India. The schedule of the visit of officials to Sri Lanka for the above purpose was also communicated to the Ministry of External Affairs," Stalin said.The tearing hurry to conduct an auction without consultation is bound to derail the efforts of the Indian High Commission and the Government of Tamil Nadu aimed at providing some succour to the poor fishermen who have lost their means of livelihood, he said."It is pertinent to note that these unsalvageable fishing boats were released by various Sri Lankan Courts following due judicial procedure," Stalin pointed out to Modi.