Fishers fume as Lanka initiates auction of 105 seized trawlers
Triggering loud protests from fishermen and political parties in the State, the Lankan government said it has decided to auction 105 Indian fishing trawlers that were seized for allegedly fishing in its territorial waters.
Quoting Lankan Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Director-General SJ Kahawatta, officials in Rameswaram said on Sunday that it would dispose of the trawlers at a public auction that would be held from February 7 to 11.
The seized boats are partially damaged or unusable after being anchored in Navy jetties for years. Of the 105 trawlers, 65 are anchored in Karainagar, 24 in Kiranchi, nine in Talaimannar, 5 in Kankesanthurai and 2 in Kalpitiya.
The move triggered a furious reaction from the fishermen associations, who noted that this was happening despite the support that India extended to the Island nation in recent past.
“The Indian government is helping Sri Lanka in the form of cash but the Lankan government is auctioning our boats that are crucial for our survival. The Centre should immediately stop them from auctioning the boats,” said Devadas, the Rameswaram-based president of Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association.
Fuming at the development, NJ Bose, president, Federation of All Mechanised Boat Fishermen Associations, said the boats were damaged after lying idle for seven years. “The Union government should not remain silent anymore,” he said.
Joining the issue, PMK founder S Ramadoss and VCK leader D Ravikumar MP said the Centre and Minister of State for Fisheries L Murugan should immediately intervene and resolve the issue.