O Panneerselvam seeks helping hand from India PM to release boats


Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to secure 75 fishing boats from the custody Sri Lankan authorities, India Times reported. 
The boats have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy since May. 
In a letter to Modi, the chief minister said an alarming situation had developed over the past few months. The vengeful action of the Sri Lankan navy and authorities in that country had affected the livelihood of Indian fishermen, he said. 
“The Sri Lankan side has deliberately and deviously hardened its stance and adopted this harsh approach of not releasing the boats,” Panneerselvam said. 
He said the ensuing Diwali festival would be bleak and cheerless for the Tamil Nadu fishermen as their livelihood was affected. 
He said the fishermen feared that the impounded boats, which are berthed in the open, would be damaged in the northeast monsoon which would hit the Sri Lankan and Tamil Nadu coasts soon. 
“Even now, it is reported that disuse and lack of maintenance have led to their deterioration. The high velocity winds accompanying the monsoon will damage these precariously anchored boats beyond redemption,” Panneerselvam said. 
He urged Modi to instruct the concerned ministry to take up the matter and to ensure the release of the boats.