Tamil Tribune

Indian Government Favours Sinhala Fishermen over Tamil Nadu Fishermen (The 300 million Rupees Question)

Usha Ramanathan

TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 2016 (ID. 2016-09-02)
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Sri Lankan Government announced on August 24, 2016 that India would provide 300 million Rupees assistance to Sri Lanka for livelihood development, including the fisheries sector, in the Hambantota District, Sri Lanka. Some of that money would be used for developing fisheries villages in the Hambantota District. (Hindustan Times; August 24, 2016)

This happens in the background of Sri Lankan Navy arresting hundreds of Tamil Nadu fishermen during the past couple of years, keeping them in jail for months (allegedly mistreating them in prison), releasing them after repeated pleadings of Tamil Nadu chief minister to the Indian Prime Minister, confiscating their boats totaling millions of Rupees in loss to the fishermen. Indian government refuses to help the fishermen get their boats back in spite of repeated requests from Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Instead of giving Sri Lanka Rupees 300 million assistance for livelihood development for Sinhala fishermen in Southern Sri Lanka, India should give the Rs. 3 million for livelihood development of Tamil fishermen of Tamil Nadu (Indian citizens whose economic welfare and physical protection is India's responsibility). India has not provided any financial assistance to Tamil Nadu fishermen affected by Sri Lankan Navy actions. Why not buy new boats for the Tamil Nadu fishermen who lost their livelihood with the loss of their boats to Sri Lanka?

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa proposed a "mother vessel and baby vessel concept" of deep sea fishing that would help with the livelihood of Tamilnadu fishermen (Rediff; February 22, 2016). The baby vessels (fishermen's boats) would fish in deep seas and bring the fishes to the nearby mother vessel (a large ship). The ship would preserve and store the fish in modern storage facilities and take them shore when enough fish is collected. After delivering the fish, mother vessel would bring back food, water and supplies for the fishermen back to the deep sea. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa asked for funds from the Indian government in 2014 (Rediff; February 22, 2016) and Indian government is yet to fund it, as of September 2016. Why not give that Rs. 300 million to this project or some other such project to help Tamil Nadu fishermen earn a living?

It is at times like these I wonder if Tamil Nadu should try to get out of India and become an independent country. What do you think?

[Summary: India refuses aid to Tamilnadu fishermen who lost their livelihood due to Sri Lankan Navy but gives Rs. 300 million to improve livelihood of Sinhala fishermen.]

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