Retrieval of Katchatheevu is top most agenda of TN govt : Minister

Chennai, Apr 13 : Retrieval of Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka, back to India and restoration of the traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay area are on the topmost agenda of the Tamil Nadu Government, Minister for Fisheries, Fishermen Welfare and Animal Husbandry Anitha R Radhakrishnan told the State Assembly on Wednesday. Moving the demand for grants for his department, he said the State Government is taking tireless efforts for the retrieval of Katchatheevu laterally given by the on Government to Sri Lanka in 1974. He said an unanimous resolution was also passed in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in this regard. Accordingly, the Tamil Nadu Government impleaded itself in the case filed before the Supreme Court and urged the Centre to retrieve Katchatheevu. He said Chief minister M K Stalin has addressed Prime Minister Nrendra Modi through Memorandum on June 17, 2021 and on April one, 2022. The Minister said he had also submitted a memorandum to on Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying to arrive at a permanent solution to the problems faced by Tamil fishermen and to restore their right to fish in the traditional waters. “The Tamil Nadu reiterate its consistent stand that a permanent solution to this vexatious problem faced by our fishermen will be possible only by restoring India’s sovereignty over Katchatheevu, thereby restoring their rights to fish in their traditional waters”, Anitha Radhakrishnan said. There are 2,490 mechanized fishing vessels, 12,443 motorized fishing vessels and 1,020 country crafts that are engaged in fishing in the traditional waters of Palk Bay area. Fisherfolk population of 2,08,827 are living in 286 fishing villages in Palk Bay districts. Around 80,000 fishermen directly depend on fishing in Palk Bay districts viz. Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam for their livelihood and a large section of coastal comm ty indirectly depends on the fishing in the traditional waters of Palk Bay. The Tamil Nadu fishermen are often arrested while fishing in their traditional waters by Sri Lankan Navy in the pretext of crossing International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). “The prolonged incarceration of our fishermen and their fishing boats by the Sri Lankan Government have been causing a sense of anxiety and insecurity among the fishermen comm ty of Tamil Nadu as a whole”, he said, while stressing the importance of retrieval of “Katchatheevu” and restoration of the traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay. MORE GV 1352

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