Asserting that the BJP-led government at the Centre was taking serious steps to bring a lasting solution to the fishermen issue, Rajya Sabha member and senior party leader L. Ganesan said efforts were made to secure the release of the trawlers impounded by Sri Lanka, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the island nation.
Mr. Ganesan told presspersons in Tamil Nadu on Saturday said the Prime Minister was scheduled to visit Sri Lankan “very soon” and talks were held with the Sri Lankan government to secure the release of more than 140 boats, ahead of his visit.
The Tamil Nadu government had offered to repair the damaged boats, he said.
The Sri Lankan authorities refused to release the boats, taking the stand that the fishermen would again trespass into their waters if they released the boats. “However, talks are being held to secure the release of the boats,” he said.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was keen on finding a solution to the issue at the earliest and her suggestion of weaning fishermen from deep-sea fishing to resolve the issue was well received by the fishermen delegation which met her in Delhi on March 21, Mr. Ganesan said.
One of the leaders in the delegation had even told him that it would be a “golden period for fishermen” if Ms. Swaraj worked out the solution.
Mr. Ganesan said there had been a marked change in the attitude of the Sri Lankan government towards Indian fishermen after the BJP came to power. (The Hindu)