Rs.1 lakh assistance given to each of them

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday handed over financial assistance of Rs.1 lakh each to 16 fishermen from the State who returned from Iran where they were languishing in prison since December.

Advising them to refrain from going abroad for livelihood, she said the State government under one of its schemes would provide Rs.30 lakh as subsidy to each one of them to purchase boats required for fishing. Since the boats were estimated to cost Rs.60 lakh, it would make all arrangements to get the remaining money required by each of them as bank loans, a press release said. This translates into a total subsidy of Rs. 4.80 crore to them and an equal amount as bank loans.

The fishermen, employed by a Saudi Arabian company and arrested for venturing into Iranian waters without proper documents, received the financial assistance when they met Ms. Jayalalithaa at the Secretariat here.

According to a press release, soon after their return on Tuesday night the fishermen expressed a desire to meet the Chief Minister and thank her for the efforts she took for their release.

After the families of the fishermen submitted a petition in July, Ms. Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh highlighting their plight and urging him for measures in getting them released.

Also, following her instructions, financial assistance of Rs.1 lakh each was provided to their families in the State.