August 8, 2016
The Government today informed the State Assembly today that retrieval of Katchatheevu back to India and restoration of the traditional fishing rights of fishermen in the Palk Bay were top most on the agenda of the Tamil Nadu Government.
“That alone will provide a permanent solution to the issue,” Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar said and added that the government had been taking all steps to get the fishermen and their boats released from the custody of Sri Lanka, whenever arrests and seizure were made.
Replying to DMK member Mathivanan, Jayakumar said that due to the efforts taken by the AIADMK Government, 2,481 fishermen and 351 boats were released.
The Minister recalled the resolutions passed in the State Assembly on the issue and the Tamil Nadu Government impleading itself in a case filed by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in her individual capacity in the Supreme court seeking retrieval of Katchatheevu.
Jayakumar also pointed that the Chief Minister in her memoranda submitted to Prime Minister in June 2014, August 2015 and June 14 this year had reiterated the need for abrogation of the 1974 and 1976 Indo-Sri Lanka agreements.
In a memorandum submitted on 14 June this year, Jayalalithaa also pointed to proposed new construction at the St. Anthony’s Church at Katchatheevu by the Sri Lankan Government and also the substantial presence of Sri Lankan Navy personnel on the Katchatheevu islet.
“The apprehension of the Tamil Nadu fishermen is that the Sri Lankan Government is moving towards further curtailing and restricting the access that they have traditionally and historically enjoyed to Katchatheevu,” Jayakumar said.
“The State Government reiterates its stand that a permanent solution to the 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,” the Minister pointed out.