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Tuesday, September 11, 2001

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Panels to protect fishermen

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, SEPT. 10. As MLAs of various parties today expressed concern over the recent abduction of 120 Tamil Nadu fishermen by sea pirates from Andhra Pradesh, the Electricity Minister, Mr.D.Jayakumar, asserted that officials of the two States would meet periodically to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

The Minister said the attack by the pirate gang was nothing new and in the past five years, 3592 fishermen who put out to the sea in 452 boats had been abducted.

In a bid to ensure the safety of the fishermen, a high-level committee comprising top officials of the two States and another panel consisting of lower-level officials would sort out the problem.

As the fish population was dense in the Krishna and Godavari regions, fishermen from Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and Chennai strayed there leading to fracas with the fishermen of Andhra Pradesh, the Minister said.

Giving details of the recent incident, the Fisheries Minister, Mr.K.P.Rajendra Prasad, said 120 fishermen who set out in 20 boats were detained in Ongole and Prakasam districts on September 5. Officials rushed to Andhra Pradesh and rescued them.

Giving a special calling attention notice, Mr. Parithi Ilamvazhuthi (DMK), Mr. C. Gnanasekaran and Mr. D. Mony (CPI- M) said it was regrettable that the fishermen were released only after payment of a ransom to the pirates.

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