Of the 135 boats impounded by Sri Lanka, 61 were apprehended in 2015, 53 in 2016 and 21 in 2017. (File)
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami today sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting back 135 fishing boats of state fishermen impounded by Sri Lanka over a period of time, saying the fishers had been deprived of their livelihood.
Placing emphasis on quick retrieval of fishing boats, Mr Palaniswami, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urged him to urgently take up the issue with Sri Lankan authorities.
The boats were "perilously berthed" and are in "imminent threat of irreparable damage." he said.
When Sri Lanka committed to consider release of boats, it led to hopes. However, no decision had been taken in this regard by the island nation, he said.
Also flagging the issue of 11 fishermen being in the custody of Sri Lanka, he requested PM Modi to get them released as well.
Sri Lanka's strategy of not releasing the fishing boats even after the release of fishermen pushed them into poverty and deprived them of their livelihood, Mr Palaniswami said.
Of the 135 boats, a total of 61 were apprehended in 2015, 53 in 2016 and 21 in 2017, the Chief Minister noted.
The matter was "regularly highlighted" by then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, he said and added that he too had reiterated it in his previous letters.
"I have repeatedly requested you to initiate all necessary diplomatic actions to secure the early release of these fishing boats and gear."
He said it should be ensured that the boats were restored to the fishermen in a refurbished and usable condition.