Tamil Nadu Assembly today witnessed heated exchanges between Ministers and opposition DMK members over the arrest of state fishermen by Sri Lanka and farm loan waiver for farmers. Seeking to turn the tables on the DMK, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said none could forget 'instances of firing' on the fishermen during the previous regimes of the party. Amma's (Jayalalithaa) regime was known for its 'resolute' action in the matter which he said was evidenced by no instances of firing. However, during DMK regime "none have forgotten such instances of firing." Responding to the special call attention motion by DMK's K P P Samy and J G Prince of (Congress) who referred to impounding of the fishermen's boats by the island nation, he said all the 135 boats and 11 fishermen in Lankan custody will be brought back home. The issue had already been taken up with Centre.
Even during the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka, the matter was taken up with Central government. Chief Minsiter K Palaniswami also met Modi besides writing to him on the issue, Jayakumar said. Reeling out statistics, he said while 2,490 fishermen were brought back home, as many as 357 boats also made it back to the state due to government efforts. Since 18 boats were damanged a compensation of Rs five lakh for each one of the boat was given to fishermen, he said adding a comparision between the AIADMK, and DMK regimes showed how the Amma regime had "acted swiftly" for the welfare of fishermen. At this point, K P P Samy tried to say somehting, supported by other DMK members who all stood up. But nothing much could be heard. Raising the loan waiver issue during the debate on the Demand for Grants to Food and Civil Supplies, DMK member E V Velu citied similar move by states including Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Leader of Opposition M K Stalin said the government should come forward to withdraw its appeal in Supreme Court against a Madras High Court order asking Tamil Nadu government to extend farm loan waiver to all categories of farmers. Minister for Cooperation, Sellur K Raju said the government preferred an appeal since the directive interfered in the fiscal management. When DMK Deputy Leader Duraimurugan objected to it saying the matter was in court, Speaker Dhanapal said the Minister only explained why an appeal was filed and he did not go into the case.