January 25, 2022
tami sin youtube  twitter facebook

    India seeks pact with Lanka to fish around Katchatheevu Featured

    July 06, 2014

    To find a permanent solution to the repeated capture of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lankan waters, the Indian government is discussing various measures including reaching an agreement with Sri Lanka to allow Indian fishermen to operate around the Katchatheevu island for a payment, according to a news item published by the Times of India yesterday.

    The ToI news item filed from New Delhi said: “Another solution being discussed is to encourage and facilitate Tamil Nadu fishermen to engage in deep sea fishing in India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) - extending up to 200 nautical miles — so that fewer transgressions are made on the Sri Lankan side.

    Tamil Nadu fishermen consider they have a traditional right over Katchatheevu because of its historical administrative connect with the state. In 1974, however, it was ceded to Sri Lanka through the India-Sri Lanka agreement. Indians are now allowed to visit the island but are not permitted to do fishing. However, with depleting fish catch off Tamil Nadu coast, fishermen regularly venture to the island only to land up in Sri Lankan custody.

    "The Indian government's position on Sri Lankan ownership of the islet is final. But we are concerned about the repeated capture of our fishermen and their livelihood. The government is considering whether through an arrangement of payment (say Rs 10,000 per trip or any other mutually agreeable amount) per trip to Sri Lanka, Indian fishermen can be allowed fishing in the zone," said a senior home ministry official.

    He added that the government is also discussing ways to persuade fishermen to go for deep sea fishing. "It is important to shift focus from Palk Strait to India's EEZ extending up to 200 nautical miles. Fishermen need to be sensitized over this," the official added.

    The issue has been festering for years with Tamil Nadu politicians across party lines urging the government to retrieve Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka even as capture of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters continues. On June 29, 17 Tamil fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan navy for fishing near Katchatheevu.

    Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha had recently written to PM Narendra Modi seeking a lasting solution to the problem. The PMO has held three meetings over the issue with representation from various ministries including external affairs, home, defence and fisheries.” (HC)

    Special Reporter

    dgi log front