Palanisamy added that as an interim measure, he had requested Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Ghadkari to release Rs 75 crore when he met him in New Delhi. Stating that the Rs 15 crore disbursed amounted to Rs.5,000 per affected family, the Chief Minister said a total of 104 kilometres was affected by the spill including 19 km in Chennai, 57 km in Kanchipuram and 28 km in Tiruvallur district.
Palanisamy’s frequent use of former chief minister Jayalalithaa’s name during the function was considered by many to be prep talk for the proposed by election which the constituency will face in three months. Stating that the DMK government spent only Rs. 193.33 crores in 2010-11 for fishermen’s welfare, he said Jayalalithaa had increased it to Rs.744 crore in 2016-17.
Similarly, the AIDAMK government had completed infrastructure works for fishing at estimated Rs.1,105 crores in the last five years, he added. He also said the AIADMK government had increased fishermen‘s lean season allowance by Rs.1,000 to Rs.5,000, benefitting 4,524 fishermen’s families at a cost of Rs 22.62 crores.
Expressing the hope that the 85 fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan navy and 128 seized boats would soon be returned, he said, he had stressed this to PM Narendra Modi when he met him at New Delhi recently.
Jayalalithaa from 2011 had written 115 letters on this issue to the PM resulting in the return of 2541 arrested fishermen and release of 357 boats. He added that at Power kuppam in RK Nagar, the government had till date provided 556 flats through the slum clearance board at a cost of Rs.23.27 crore for fishermen, completed Rs.92.63 crore worth work at the Chennai fishing harbour, while at Aranganathapuram, 480 new houses were built for fishers at a cost of Rs.40.71 crore.