In a letter to the Prime Minister, CM Stalin asked him to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to recall the advertisements issued for the auction of 105 fishing boats seized from Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin at his desk: Stalin urged PM Modi to act against auctioning of TN fishermen’s boats by Sri Lanka File Photo
news Fishing Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 15:48

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the Union government after reports said that the Sri Lankan government issued advertisements for auctioning boats seized from Tamil Nadu fishermen. Stalin asked the Union government to  “register its disapproval in the strongest possible terms” and prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to recall the advertisements. The ads were reportedly issued in newspapers by Sri Lanka’s Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, calling for bidders to participate in the auction of 105 fishing boats seized from fishermen of Tamil Nadu over the past few years.  

The advertisements calling for bidders said that 105 boats would be auctioned between February 7 and 11 in different locations. It may be noted that the Sri Lankan Navy personnel arrested several fishermen belonging to areas such as Ramanathapuram, Nagapattinam, Mandapam, Pudukottai, Mayiladuthurai and Thanjavur along with their fishing boats for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). 

Officials of the Tamil Nadu fisheries department said that the Sri Lankan government would be selling the boats for scrap value as most of the boats would have rusted after not being properly maintained during the period of custody, according to IANS. In his letter, Stalin said that the Sri Lankan government has no legal rights over the boats that are about to be auctioned. He also said that the move has created alarm and distrust among Tamil Nadu fishermen who were willing to find an amicable solution for the issue, which comes ahead of a meeting of the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Working Group on Fisheries. 

Stalin also urged the Union government to continue its efforts towards the transparent disposal of 125 Tamil Nadu boats apprehended before 2018 and to ensure the early release of 75 boats and fishing gear apprehended after 2018 by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Recently on Friday, January 21, after meeting with representatives of fishermen’s associations across the state, CM Stalin had announced a compensation of Rs 11.32 crore for owners of fishing boats which were damaged by the monsoon or after being seized by Sri Lankan authorities. 

Speaking to IANS, B Balamurugan, President, Jegathapattinam Fisher's association said, "The auctioning to be conducted by the Sri Lankan government must be stopped and the government of India must intervene as early as it can. The auctioning would kill the hopes of hundreds of fishermen who want their boats back. This would kill the livelihood of fishermen and the government will not be able to compensate.”

With IANS inputs 

Read: Arrested at sea, adrift on land: Tamil Nadu fishers struggle with boats stuck in Sri Lanka

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