Jan 28, Colombo: Representatives of Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen participated in the Indo-Lanka discussions to resolve the nagging issue of the fishing rights have reached several agreements during the day-long talks held in Chennai yesterday.
Fishermen from the two countries announced Monday that they have adopted several resolutions regarding the fishing in the Palk Bay but it is up to the two governments and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa to ratify the agreements. The fishermen however did not reveal the details of the agreements to the media.
The much-awaited discussions between the two sides took place Monday in Chennai. Prior to yesterday's talks at the fishermen level, ministerial level discussions were held in New Delhi on January 15 between Sri Lanka's Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Rajitha Senaratne and the Indian union Minster of Agriculture Sharad Pawar.
During that round of talks the two sides agreed to release the fishermen held in each other's jails before holding Monday's talks as a goodwill gesture to create an environment conducive for talks.
Reportedly yesterday's day-long talks have been successful and according to Sri Lanka's Deputy Fisheries Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne, the fishermen of both countries have jointly prepared a set of proposals that promote goodwill among them.
A fishermen delegate from Sri Lanka has told the Indian media that there was a consensus on fishing and the delegates from both sides freely exchanged ideas. He said some restrictions and bans with regard to fishing were also discussed.
The Sri Lankan delegation was led by the Director General of Sri Lanka Fisheries Department Nimal Hettiarachchi and comprised four other officials and 18 fishermen from the fisheries organizations in Northern and Eastern Provinces in the discussions.
The meeting waspresided over by Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister K.A. Jayapal and attended by Suchitra Durai, joint secretary, of Indian Ministry of External Affairs. Additionally, 24 Indian fishermen also took part in the discussions.
The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner at Chennai Sabarullah Khan also participated in the talks.