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'Govt actively working on TN fishermen issue'

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The government is actively working on resolving issues concerning fishermen, a group of leaders from the state said today.

The delegation, led by national General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao, today External Affairs Minister who assured them that the government was engaging all its resources on issues concerning the state fishermen and Lankan Tamils.

"Government of is actively engaging and it is using all its resources not only on the fishermen issue, but also on the issues, which are outstanding... We are happy the way the External Affairs Minister has assured us on how things are improving and how issues are progressing," Rao told reporters.

Asked whether the new Government at the Centre would review foreign policy towards the island nation, Rao said that the question was not about reviewing the policy.

"There must be a permanent solution for the fishermen problem," Rao, who is in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, said, adding that Swaraj had said that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the same thing.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan had said the government is taking necessary steps to ensure release of boats of fishermen seized by Sri Lanka.

"The Centre is making all efforts in this regard, without an iota of doubt... The Ministry of External Affairs is holding meetings this week over the issue," the Minister, who was elected from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu, said outside Parliament House here.

Radhakrishnan, who is Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise, said that he has taken up the issue with Swaraj.

He exuded confidence that a lasting solution would be found.

"Government of is working on that," he said.

Fed up with frequent arrests and alleged harassments by Sri Lankan naval personnel, fishermen from Rameshwaram had threatened to proceed to the island nation with their families yesterday and "surrender" to officials there.

However, the protest was withdrawn after Radhakrishnan spoke to the fishermen over phone and assured them that steps will be initiated for early release of boats.

Fishermen of Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu have been boycotting fishing since July 24 to press their demands including putting an end to frequent arrests and alleged harassment by the Sri Lankan navy.

First Published: Mon, August 04 2014. 23:54 IST