“India could not depute its representative for meet’’

A section of fishermen from the coastal districts of Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Puducherry, who were anxious for a solution to the dispute over fishing in the Palk Bay, were disappointed over the postponement of the second round of talks with their Sri Lankan counterparts in Colombo.

Sources here said that the Tamil Nadu government had made all arrangements and obtained visas for the representatives, including five from the island, but the meeting could not be held as per the schedule as the Centre could not depute a representative from the External Affairs Ministry.

According to a fishermen leader here, A. Justin Joisa, fishermen leader from Mannar district, said that the meeting had been postponed as the Indian government could not depute its representative for the meeting originally scheduled for Thursday.

Representatives of Sri Lankan fishermen from Jaffna and Mannar regions, who had reached Colombo, were returning, the local leader told The Hindu, quoting the Sri Lankan leader.

Passports

Sources said 13 fishermen representatives, who took part in the first round of talks held in Chennai on January 27, had handed over their passport well on time to the Tamil Nadu government officials, except a couple of leaders, who took time to renew their passports, but the visas were obtained on Wednesday.

Thirteen representatives — five from Rameswaram, four from Nagapattinam, two from Pudukottai and one each from Thanjavur and Puducherry — took part in the first round of talks in Chennai and at the instance of the Centre, three more fishermen from Karaikal were included in the list for the second round of talks, the sources said.

The reason that the Centre could not depute its representative was not convincing, the fishermen leaders said and suspected ‘some kind of politics’ behind the postponement.

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