Tamil Nadu govt. urges Modi to oppose Lankan bill for fishermen

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Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry and the Indian Mission in Sri Lanka to register a strong protest against the island nation’s new legislation aimed at imposing huge penalties on the Indian fishermen entering its water.

DMK and Tamil Nadu Congress Committee also sought the Centre’s intervention to protect Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

In a letter to Modi, Palaniswami said that a new bill named the Foreign Fishing Vessels Bill has been introduced in the Lankan Parliament on Wednesday with provisions to incarcerate “our fishermen for longer periods of time and impose huge penalties, which run up to few crores of Indian rupees.”

The new bill enables the 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.

Pointing out that the move has created widespread resentment and panic, he said that the livelihood of fishermen from Tamil Nadu who fish in the waters of Palk Bay would then be left at the mercy of the Lankan government.

“It is an extremely unfortunate development, at the time when the ministers of India and Sri Lanka met twice and the Joint Working Group on Fisheries met thrice, to work out a permanent solution to resolve this long pending sensitive livelihood issue,” Palaniswami wrote. (DNA)

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