(G.N.S) Dt. 25
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president S Thirunavukkarasar on Thursday urged the Centre to apply pressure on the Sri Lankan government to prevent it from going ahead with a controversial bill that threatens to slap hefty fines on Indian fishermen caught fishing in territorial waters of that country.
The Sri Lankan government introduced a bill, aimed at safeguarding the interests of its fishermen, in the parliament on Wednesday. Once enacted, it enables the Sri Lankan government to slap hefty fines ranging from Sri Lankan rupee 50 lakh to 17.5 crore (ranging from Rs 20 lakh – Rs 7 crore) on Tamil Nadu fishermen, depending on the size of the fishing boats.
With very little demarcation of international boundaries on the high seas between India and Sri Lanka, the fishermen from Tamil Nadu had depended on fishing based on their age-old practice. “In order to bring in clarity, the UPA government had facilitated about three meetings between Sri Lankan and Tamil fishermen from 2010 and 2014 and it was decided to continue the talks to find a permanent solution,” Thirunavukkarasar said.
“However, the talks were not carried forward after the BJP came to power at the Centre. Even the promise of getting all the rights for Tamil Nadu fishermen and also creating a separate fisheries ministry remained unfulfilled,” he added.
The fishermen division of the TNCC would hold protests in Chennai and other coastal towns on January 30 to put pressure on the Centre to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to scrap the bill, Thirunavukkarasar said
(G.N.S) Dt. 25