Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday urged the Central government to allow the state government to ship essential commodities from Thoothukudi port to the Sri Lankan Tamils as the island country is going through an unprecedented economic crisis.
In a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the Chief Minister also requested for Centre’s urgent intervention related to the plight of the 12 Indian fishermen, who were apprehended on March 23, and request to ensure all legal support and assistance for enabling the early release of fishermen. During his meeting in March, he had apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Tamil Nadu Government’s willingness to provide essential commodities and life-saving medicines to the Sri Lankan Tamils who are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
“During our recent telephonic conversation on April 7, 2022, I had also brought to your notice that the State has been receiving Sri Lankan Tamils who are forced to leave their country amid the escalating economic crisis that is turning into a humanitarian crisis. It was informed then that such measures can be considered after due consultation with the Indian Mission in Sri Lanka,” he said in a letter to Jaishankar.
The Chief Minister reiterated the Tamil Nadu government’s commitment to ship the essential supplies including food grain, vegetables and medicines, and others from Thoothukudi port to the Sri Lankan Tamils living in Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka and Colombo, as well as those working in the plantations who are reeling under severe food crisis.
“It has now been reported that the Union Government has enabled the shipping of food and other essential commodities to Sri Lanka. At this juncture, I would like to reiterate the commitment of my Government to ship the essential supplies including food grain, vegetables, medicines, etc., from Thoothukudi port to the Sri Lankan Tamils living in Northern and Eastern parts of Sri Lanka and Colombo, as well as those working in the plantations who are reeling under severe food crisis. I request that this may be facilitated at the earliest in view of the worsening situation in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Stalin also drew the attention of Jaishankar to the plight of the 12 Indian fishermen, who were apprehended on March 23 this year, and said that the Killinochchi court has adjourned the case to May 12 with the instructions that the fishermen could be released on bail on a personal bond of Lankan rupees 2 crores per person.
“As this is a prohibitive amount, the fishermen can never furnish the same. They are presently lodged in the Jaffna prison. I request your urgent intervention in this regard and request you to ensure all legal support and assistance to the poor fishermen for enabling their early release,” he added.
The Chief Minister also interacted with refugees from Sri Lanka via video conferencing and enquired them about their essential needs, welfare, and ground situation in Sri Lanka amid the economic crisis in the country.
Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented economic crisis as the government’s inability to import essential goods after the coronavirus pandemic torpedoed vital revenue from tourism and remittances.