Indefinite strike by fishermen ends

Rameswaram fishermen who had launched an indefinite strike last week, protesting against the arrest of fishermen by Sri Lankan navy and ended the strike on July 13 after meeting Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, could not venture into the sea for fishing as the Fisheries department denied fishing permits, citing weather warning.

After Mr. Palaniswami reportedly assured the fishermen that the government would consider their request for compensation of Rs. 25 lakh each for the more than 150 trawlers impounded in the island nation and suffered extensive damage, the fishermen ended their strike and decided to resume fishing from July 14 but could not get the fishing permits.

On Monday too, the Fisheries department, citing warning by the Regional Meteorological Centre that there would be strong winds from the southwesterly to westerly direction with a speed of 35 to 45 km per hour and gusting to 60 km per hour along and off south Tamil Nadu coast, denied fishing permits to the fishermen.

Protesting that their livelihood continued to be affected and that they could not go for regular fishing in the last one month after ending the 61-day ban period, fishermen leader P. Sesu Raja claimed that the warning only applied to fishermen who ventured into the sea for multi-day deep sea fishing and not for them who returned the next day after overnight stay.

In the last one month after the fresh fishing season began on June 15, the fishermen had ventured into the sea only for five days and got arrested by the Lankan navy on two occasions. The Lankan navy had arrested 12 fishermen with their two trawlers on July 4 and four more fishermen along with their trawler on July 8, he said.

“It is very unfortunate that the Fisheries department has denied fishing permits and diesel at subsidised rates citing weather warning,” the leaders said. Their livelihood was already hit badly and they could not resume normal fishing, rued the fishermen leaders.

They said there was nothing unusual, for the wind speed would be around 35 to 45 km per hour during July-August and they would avoid venturing into the sea when the weather was really worse, they said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of fishermen leaders left for Chennai on Monday evening to meet Director of Fisheries in Chennai and seek redressal to their grievances.

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