The twenty Andhra fishermen who were recently released from a Pakistani jail, met with Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday in Amaravati. The government has provided a financial aid of Rs 5 lakh to each of the 20 men who were detained for nearly 14 months by the Pakistan Marine Security Agency on charges of entering Pakistanâ€™s territorial waters.
The meeting also involved a discussion between the Chief Minister and the fishermen, regarding the circumstances that led them to look for work near the Pakistan border, according to an official statement. The fishermen reportedly said that the absence of a fishing harbour in their region has forced them to migrate to other parts of India.
The fishermen belong to different villages of the Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts of north coastal Andhra, and had migrated to Gujarat for work. In spite of belonging to coastal districts, the fishermen said that nearly 10,000 to 15,000 people from their region seasonally migrate to Gujarat, due to the absence of fishing harbours and jetties in their districts.
Following the discussion, the CM assured the fishermen that the government would work towards constructing jetties exclusively for fishing in their home districts, apart from making attempts to develop the Bhavanapadu port in Srikakulam.
While 22 fishermen were detained by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency off the Gujarat coast in November 2018, only 20 of them were sent back in a goodwill gesture amidst tense bilateral ties. The CM said that efforts will be made to ensure the release of the remaining two detainees as well, who are believed to belong to East Godavari district.
The 20 fishermen were released from a Pakistani jail on Sunday, and crossed over to the Indian side through the Attari-Wagah border on Monday. They were handed over to the Border Security Force by the Pakistan Rangers.