Jaya urges Centre, TN to forfeit fishermen loans

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Chennai, Mar 15: Flaying the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and DMK government in Tamil Nadu for letting down fishermen affected by the tsunami, Former Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa today urged both the governments to waive the loans availed by them for rehabilitation.

Alleging that fishermen were struggling for their livelihood after the Centre and State governments had virtually stopped the credit facilities to replace their boats, Ms Jayalalithaa, in a statement here, said the Centre, which had waived farm loans to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore, should show the same courtesy to the fishermen also.

Ms Jayalalithaa said the Centre, while waiving the loans already availed by the fishermen, should come forward to provide fresh loans with 100 per cent subsidy to those who had not availed them so far.

After the fishermen in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu were hit by the devastating tsunami in December 2004, her government had immediately sanctioned Rs 65 crore to repair their damaged boats and purchase new ones.

Apart from this, the AIADMK government had sanctioned Rs 395.56 crore as subsbidy for missing boats and for purchase of new catamarans, fibre glass boats and to repair fully damaged fibre glass and mechanised boats, she claimed.

While these works were carried out without any hindrance, the AIADMK government also came to the rescue of fishermen by giving them 100 per cent Sales Tax exemption for high speed diesel.

However, after the DMK came to power, the assistance sanctioned by her government was not implemented fully and it also failed to monitor the loans given to them by the banks, she alleged, adding, ''the Centre, too, had turned a blind eye to this.''

UNI

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