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News Entry# 287415
Dec 02 2016 (11:35)  Fishermen threaten rail roko (
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News Entry# 287415     
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Posted by: rdb*^  132877 news posts
Rameswaram: Fishermen leaders of six coastal districts have threatened to launch a State-wide ‘rail roko’ agitation if the authorities fail to find a solution to cash crunch after demonetisation of high-value notes and arrange for their participation in the inaugural function of newly built St Anthony’s church in Katchatheevu, scheduled for December 7.
The leaders, who discussed the issues at a meeting in Thangachimadam near here on Thursday, decided to go to Chennai on December 5 to press for their demands by meeting Fisheries Minister, government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials.
Sesu Raja, a Rameswaram fishermen leader, said the demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 rupee notes had seriously affected the livelihood of the fishing community as the fishermen could not venture into sea for fishing for want of liquid cash.
Each mechanised boat owner required Rs. 25,000 – Rs. 50,000 to set out to the sea for fishing, and they were totally handicapped after the Centre demonetised the high-value currencies and imposed restrictions on withdrawals, he said. “We want the RBI to introduce mobile banking facilities in coastal districts to exclusively cater to the needs of the fisherfolk,” he said.
The leaders also expressed concern that Jaffna Diocese and Delft Parish had unilaterally built a new church with the help of Sri Lankan Navy in Katchatheevu after demolishing the old church built by their forefathers a century ago, and planned the inaugural ceremony without inviting them.
As they had a right over the church, the State and Central governments should arrange for the participation of at least 100 fishermen from the region, failing which they would sail to the islet and take part in the function on their own, they said.
They also demanded that the State and Central governments take immediate steps to secure the release of 118 boats impounded by Sri Lankan authorities and 15 fishermen arrested by the Lankan navy.
If they did not get a favourable response from the officials on December 5, the fishermen leaders would meet again and fix the date for the rail roko, Mr. Sesu Raja said.
The meeting was attended by leaders from Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Thoothukudi districts.
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