Incidents of fishermen crossing the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) has been on the rise, straining the relationship between India and Sri Lanka. With a view to impress upon fishermen of Pudukottai district the norms on restriction of fishing activities within the stipulated border, the Indian Navy has initiated a special plan to create awareness among the fisherfolk.

Based on photographs and records of fishermen who had crossed over to the Sri Lankan border, made available by the Sri Lankan Navy, a meeting was held at Jegadapattinam on Friday. Representatives of fishermen societies, welfare associations and officials from the Department of Fisheries, Coastal Security Group personnel and Indian Navy were present.

Presiding over the meeting, Com. O.P.Bijarania, Officer-in-charge, Indian Navy, Jegadapattinam, showed the photographs taken by the Sri Lankan security personnel of fishermen of Pudukottai district who had intruded into the Sri Lankan waters. He said that on an average, 50 fishermen were found ‘trespassing' into the Sri Lankan territory.

He warned the fishermen against the consequences of fishing beyond stipulated for Indian waters.

A. Makhesh, Inspector of Police, Coastal Security Group, advised the fishermen to carry identity cards issued by the Fisheries Department.

Explain circumstances

A cross section of fishermen's representatives, including Ramamurthy, Chinna Adaikalam, Abdul Hameed, Shanmugam, G.Ramakrishnan and Ravi, explained the circumstances that led the fishermen to land in the alien waters.

They demanded the supply of GPS (global positioning system) equipment to the fishermen to avoid error in estimating the boundary in the sea.

They were prepared to abide by the norms on international boundary, they assured.

Ragupathy, Marudhu and C.Chellapandi, all Sub-Inspectors of Police, Coastal Security Group, spoke on the importance of safety of property and life of fishermen.

The details had been released through the Central government to the naval unit. The violation chiefly pertained to the period between September 30 to October 31 this year.

After taking the photograph and allied documents, the fishermen had been released, they said.