Demonetisation has rendered thousands of fishermen across Tamil Nadu jobless for the past several days as there was no money to buy diesel for boats, fishermen representatives said today, seeking measures to help them overcome the problem.
Fishermen of Thoothukudi, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Tiruvarur and Ramanathapuram held a meeting here and discussed the impact of demonetisation and other problems plaguing them.
Fishermen of these districts, including around 25,000 here, were unable to take up fishing in the past several days as they did not have adequate money to buy diesel in view of the restrictions on withdrawals, they said.
A minimum of Rs 20,000 was required for buying diesel for small boats, Confederation of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Fishermen associations General Secretary N J Bose said.
He wanted extension of mobile ATM facilities as had been made available to the farmers after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes ceased to be legal tenders.
The meeting was attended by around 200 representatives of the fishermen associations, including TN Coastal Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association President P Sesuraj.
Among others, the fishermen also said that 20 of their colleagues and 115 boats were still under Sri Lankan custody and sought their release.
The fishermen leaders said they planned to meet Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and state BJP President Tamilisai Sounderrajan next week to highlight their problems.
The fishermen warned of staging protests if there was no positive outcome in the meetings.
They also demanded formation of an exclusive Fisheries ministry at the Centre.
The fishermen will proceed to attend the inauguration of a new church built in Katchatheevu islet, under Sri Lankan control, even if no permission was granted, they said.
The fishermen's representatives warned that they would be forced to launch a "rail roko" agitation if the government did not help them overcome cash shortage faced by them due to demonetisation and help them participate in the church festival at Katchativu on December 7.
They said that if their demands were not met they would meet again on December 5 and decide about the rail roko agitation in the state.