Union Minister of State Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan on Thursday said the Centre would secure the release of 115 boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen.
Addressing media in Tamil Nadu, after inspecting the newly laid Danushkodi road, he said the ministerial-level meeting between India and Sri Lanka, scheduled for January 2, 2017, would discuss the contentious issue and secure the release of the boats.
On the outcome of the recent fishermen and ministerial-level talks in New Delhi, Mr. Radhakrishnan, who was part of the Indian delegation, said it was a good beginning and the first step towards finding a sustainable solution.
Mr. Radhakrishnan was confident that the Joint Working Group (JWG) on fisheries would protect the interest of Tamil Nadu fishermen when they venture into the sea. For the first time in all these years, it had been decided that officials from the two countries would meet once in three months and Ministers once in six months to address the issues, he said.
Mr. Radhakrishnan said pilgrims who visit the island had been facing problem in reaching the holy place ever since Danushkodi was destroyed in the 1964 cyclonic storm.
When the newly laid road was about to be inaugurated, high tidal waves hit the edges of the road on some stretch and caused breaches.
The National Highways Authority of India has been asked to repair the damaged part after which the road would be thrown open for traffic, he said.
On the proposed bridge between Danushkodi and Talaimannar, he said, “We are ready and once the Sri Lankan government agrees to the project, the dream of Bharati will come true”, he said referring to the revolutionary poet’s song “we will build a bridge to Sinhalese island”. The Minister called on APJM Maraikayar, brother of late President APJ Abdul Kalam. (The Hindu)