The Madras High Court has directed the Centre to bear the total cost of providing transponders to Tamil Nadu fishermen to prevent them from straying into foreign waters and ensure their safety.
Further, noting that the Central Government is conscious of the two heads, the bench said, “The above separate heads make it clear that 100 per cent of the actual cost of the project implemented by Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF), has to be borne by the Central government.”
“They cannot take a stand that development of necessary software, procurement and installation of suitable communication devices/transponders and essential equipment etc., on board the fishing vessels in a phased manner, is a State project and not falling under the Blue Revolution Scheme,” the bench said.
The bench in its order also held “It is not an activity or project taken by the State Government with the assistance from DADF. It is the activity taken by the Central Government and therefore, development of necessary software, procurement and installation of suitable communication devices/ transponders and essential equipment etc., on board the fishing vessels in a phased manner, has to be necessarily funded at 100 per cent cost of the project by the Central Government and be implemented by DADF.”
Based on this, the bench on recording the grant of Rs 14.99 crore (50 per cent of the project) on July 19, directed the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, to sanction the balance amount to the Tamil Nadu government within a month. The bench also directed the Tamil Nadu government to co-ordinate with ISRO for installation of the transponders.
The order was made on a plea moved by Fisherman Care, seeking to refer all the incidents of human rights violation by the Sri Lankan government against Indian Fishermen in International Waters to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).