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Guj govt to bring Bill to stop misuse of boats captured by Pak


Press Trust of India Gandhinagar
The Gujarat government will

bring a Bill during the ongoing Budget session of the Assembly that seeks to stop the misuse of fishing boats captured by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) off Gujarat coast.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani made this announcement in the House on Wednesday.
Referring to the Gujarat-registered fishing boat 'MV Kuber', which was hijacked by Pakistani terrorists who carried out the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, Rupani said a law is required to stop such misuse of fishing boats once it was captured by Pakistan.
The chief minister said this while taking part in a discussion on a recent incident wherein 63 fishermen on board 11 boats from Gujarat were captured by the PMSA between February 13 and 18 off Gujarat coast.
The issue was raised by senior Congress MLA, Punja Vansh, as a matter of "urgent public importance" under rule 116 of the Gujarat Assembly on the first day of the Budget session here on Wednesday.
Vansh said although fishermen are eventually handed over to the Indian authorities by Pakistan, their boats are never returned.
"It is the Central government and the Ministry of External Affairs which deal with Pakistan on this matter. The Gujarat government regularly makes representation to the Centre about the issue of boats," Rupani said.
He objected to the use of word 'abduction by Pakistan', as he told Vansh that fishermen from Gujarat are captured by the Pak agency mid-sea only after they cross the IMBL and go to the other side.
The chief minister added that the PMSA does not enter the Indian side and abduct fishermen.
"We are bringing a bill to stop the misuse of such boats. The state government is vigilant and want to make sure that boats in the custody of Pakistan are not misused, just like Kuber was misused," Rupani said.
Responding to Vansh, state Fisheries Minister Jawahar Chavda said as against the 1,625 fishermen captured by Pakistan in the last five years, the Gujarat government was able to bring back 1,750 fishermen with the help of Centre, as some of the fishermen were captured before 2014-15.
He added that the state government pays a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of fishermen, who die in a jail in the neighbouring country.
Chavda added that till the fisherman does not return to India, his family gets Rs 300 daily allowance from the government.

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First Published: Feb 26 2020 | 9:56 PM IST

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