Chennai, Jan 22 (IANS): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the owners of mechanised boats and Rs 1.5 lakh each to the owners of country boats that are presently in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities.
At least 128 mechanised boats and 17 country boats are in the custody of Sri Lankans at present.
The Chief Minister's office made the announcement on Friday evening.
Stalin also announced a package of Rs 5.66 crore compensation for the 105 fishing boats and equipment that were damaged during the Northeast monsoon that lashed the state.
Fishermen association leader S. Bharathi said that the state government's announcement is a major support to the beleaguered fishermen of the state who are being hunted down by the Sri Lankan Navy and police on trivial charges.
In 2021, five fishermen lost their lives during an attack by Sri Lankan authorities, including Naval personnel.
Sixty-eight fishermen were arrested and 15 were released from prison recently. The remaining 55 fishermen are still languishing in Sri Lankan jails.
The Union Ministry of External Affairs, has already entered a diplomatic discussion with the Sri Lankan authorities on the arrest of Indian fishermen and the complaints being lodged by the fishermen of Rameswaram, Mandapam, and other areas of Tamil Nadu who were facing tough times in the sea near the Katchatheevu island as well as the International Marine Boundary Line (IMBL).
Krishnaswami Rajendran, who is the owner of a fishing boat at Rameswaram, while speaking to IANS said: "The Sri Lankan Navy is creating problems with our fishermen and it is high time that the government of India takes stringent action against the perpetrators who are attacking Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu regularly.
"There has to be an end to this. The real situation in the sea is really tough and we are being attacked regularly for no fault of ours."