India-Sri Lanka joint working group meets and helps resolve fishers’ woes, Tamil Nadu tells Centre

Though Tamil Nadu fishermen have been released after being apprehended, Sri Lanka nation has not been releasing their fishing vessels.

ByPTI

Published Feb 24, 2024 | 2:35 AMUpdatedFeb 24, 2024 | 2:37 AM

India-Sri Lanka joint working group meets and helps resolve fishers’ woes, Tamil Nadu tells Centre

The Tamil Nadu government on Friday, 23 February, urged the Central government to take steps to convene the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group meeting immediately to resolve the issues concerning the state’s fishermen, particularly in securing the release of impounded fishing vessels.

A meeting of the Joint Working Group was held in March 2022 and has not been convened thereafter, state Fisheries Minister Anita R Radhakrishnan said and recalled that Chief Minister MK Stalin had already written a letter to the Union External Affairs Ministry to convene the meeting to sort out the long-pending row between the Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen.

“Though Tamil Nadu fishermen have been released after being apprehended by Sri Lankan authorities from time to time, the island nation has not been releasing the confiscated fishing vessels, resulting in loss of livelihood and agony to our fishermen,” Radhakrishnan said in a release in Chennai.

Presently, about 49 fishermen have been apprehended and 151 fishing vessels impounded by the Lankan government. Only 12 boats were ordered to be released by Lankan courts, he said.

In October last year, the chief minister ordered the constitution of a committee to secure the release of the boats seized in Lanka and even allocated funds for the purpose but the Centre has not accorded permission for it, the minister said.

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