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TN CM seeks PM’s intervention for release of fishermen held

In a letter to Modi, Panneerselvam sought a long term solution to this issue which includes retrieval of Katchatheevu and sanction of requisite financial package for the fishermen community.

He urged Modi to secure the immediate release of the 94 fishermen in the custody of Lankan authorities, including the 28 fishermen arrested yesterday, besides 83 fishing boats.

Citing a recent Tamil Nadu government’s decision that it would reciprocate the release of Lankan fishermen, if the Lankan side initiated the release of the state’s fishermen, Panneerselvam said the latest episode “raises apprehensions about the true intention of the Lankan government regarding the release of Tamil Nadu fishermen and their boats.”

Referring to Tuesday’s incidents and recalling the resolution passed by the Assembly urging the Centre to secure the immediate release of the state fishermen, he said, “The livelihood of our fishermen is being threatened by the Sri Lankan strategy of not releasing their boats.”

He said the Centre should not treat the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) with Lanka as a settled question, reiterating the state’s firm commitment to the restoration of the traditional fishing rights of the fishermen in the Palk Bay and retrieval of Katchatheevu.

Referring to the Comprehensive Special Package for Diversification of Fisheries at a cost of Rs 1,520 crore and a recurring grant of Rs 10 crore per annum for maintenance dredging, which former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa suggested, Panneerselvam said an early approval of the package by the Centre would go a long way in finding a long term solution to this “sensitive issue.”
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