Gujarat Govt to send delegation to Pakistan for fishermen's release

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Vadodara, Oct 6 (UNI) For the first time, the Gujarat government will send an eight-member delegation to Pakistan to negotiate the release of 377 Indian fishermen and 369 fishing trawlers confiscated by the Pakistan Marine Security Agency for allegedly straying into their territorial waters for fishing.

The delegation, headed by superintendent of the fisheries department M K Chaudhury, is scheduled to leave for Karachi by air from Mumbai on October 12 on a 15-day visa.

Talking to UNI today, Mr Chaudhury said this was the first ever official delegation from Gujarat to visit Pakistan to initiate a dialogue with the Pakistani authorities to secure the release of the Indian fishermen languishing in different jails of Pakistan and recover 369 seized fishing trawlers worth nearly Rs 56 crore.

The visit was reportedly planned on the request of various fishermens associations after the Pakistani authorities recently decided to put the seized Indian trawlers to auction.

Mr Chaudhury said though the Pak authorities earlier used to release the fishermen along with their boats after their jail terms were over, not a single boat costing about Rs 15 lakh each had been released since October 2003.

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