Fishing In Palk Bay In Turns A Solution: Kalam
Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen could fish in the Palk Bay in turns to avoid the current problems, or switch to deep sea fishing for better returns, Former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said. He suggested that deep sea fishing and fishing in turns in the Palk Bay, are solutions to resolve the contentious fisheries issue that India and Sri Lanka have been grappling with for the past few years.
In response to a question at a press conference at the end of his four-day visit to Sri Lanka, he said that of the seven days of the week, Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen should fish in turns for three days each, leaving one day for resting. During this time, both fishermen could cross each others boundaries. “Wherever there is fish they cross borders. Nobody can stop them… Of course, both governments will have to bless,” he said.
Mr. Kalam pointed out that “a very small country in Europe” had a per capita income of U.S. $ 40,000 because its fishermen had resorted to deep sea fishing in a major way, while Sri Lanka had a per capita income of about $ 3,000 and India, about $ 2,000. He suggested that if Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen took to deep sea fishing, they would earn more and contribute better to the economies of their countries.
Mr. Kalam had discussed this and many other issues with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mr. Kalam had come here to take part in the launch of the tri-lingual initiative, aimed at making the next generation Sri Lankans fluent in Sinhala, Tamil and English. Mr. Kalam said that he had discussed the fishermen problem with the President. “I come from the fishermen area in Rameswaram. So, I know their problems,” he said
Mr. Kalam said that he had also discussed empowering the various provinces with Mr. Rajapaksa based on the 13 Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution.
Asked for his impressions from the visit, he said that he could see that there was progress in development works.