Minister says govt keen on safeguarding fishermen in mid sea

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Chennai, Jan 28 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister Arcot N Veerasamy today reiterated that the state government was keen on protecting fishermen from the alleged attacks by Sri Lankan Navy in the Indian sea waters.

''There have been only five such incidents since 2006 when the DMK came to power,'' he said in reply to points raised by members in the state Assembly, cutting across party lines, who expressed concern over such attacks in mid sea.

''The incident took place only when the Indian fishermen violated the International Boundary Line in the sea'', he added.

''So far about 157 fishermen were held and 30 boats were seized by Sri Lankan Navy during the DMK rule'', he said, adding ''due to the continuous efforts by the state government, the fishermen were released by the Lankan government within a short time''.

Mr Veerasamy pointed out that the state government was also creating awareness among the fishermen about the International Boundary Lines.

''All the fishermen were given accredited identity cards and each boat would carry a proper register number, which would ensure saftey while fishing'', he said.

''We are maintaining constant touch with various fishermens associations to create awareness about the implications of the violation of the boundary line in the sea'', he said.

About the release of fishermen who were arrested by the Lankan Navy on January 21, he said the state government had already taken up the issue with the Centre.

''We would take adequate steps to ensure saftey return of the fishermen within a couple of days'', he added.

Mr Veerasamy also disclosed that the Tamil Nadu government has urged the Centre to provide constant patrol in the International Boundary Line in the sea as this would also ensure the saftey of erring fishermen.

UNI SNR VV SHB DS1427

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