“We condemn the central government’s indifference. We demand compensation for the boats damaged in Sri Lankan custody,” said Jesuraja. The ministry of external affairs has asked fishermen to find an alternative job and to adopt deep sea fishing. “But we need time to shift to deep sea fishing. We proposed to hand over a good number of our boats under a buyback scheme. The minister said she would consider the possibility of a buyback scheme,” said Jesuraja. Fishermen in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Monday decided to call for a bandh to protest against the central government’s indifference to the issues concerning them, the Times of India reported.At a meeting held in Rameswaram, fishermen leaders also decided to get support from political parties. “In the coming days, we are going to meet the leaders of all political parties. We are also planning to call for a one-day bandh in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry to condemn the Centre’s indifference to us,” said Ramanathapuram district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association B Jesuraja. The meeting was held in the backdrop of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s advice to the fishermen not to cross the territorial waters of Sri Lanka and the central government’s alleged hesitation to intervene every time Indian fishermen are arrested by the Sri Lankan navy. Out of 81 boats released by Sri Lanka, fishermen could salvage only 61 boats and the rest have to be abandoned since they were damaged beyond repair. Even among the 61 boats, nearly ten boats had suffered extensive damage, fishermen said.Fishermen said the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and their leaders disappointed them. “The minister asked us not to venture into Sri Lankan waters. She asked us to carry out fishing in Indian waters, but there is no fish in our waters,” said D Arockiam, a fisherman in Rameswaram.
Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, hailed the Doha Declaration, adopted by members of the Group of 77 and China at the conclusion of the Second South Summit in Doha late last week. The Declaration emphasized, among other things, the need to urgently meet the agreed Official Development Assistance (ODA) target of 0.7 per cent of donor countries’ GNI, and underscored the importance of strengthening the World Trade Organization (WTO) with special and differential treatment for developing countries, and the least developed countries (LDCs), in particular.While welcoming the outcome of the Summit, Mr. Chowdhury urged the international community to adopt an effective, comprehensive, equitable and development-oriented solution to debt problems, particularly through 100 per cent debt cancellation for the world’s poorest countries. The “G-77”, now numbering 132 member states, calls itself the largest Third World coalition in the UN system. The association provides the means for the developing world to articulate its collective economic interests and enhances its joint negotiating capacity on major international economic issues in the UN system, it says. It also promotes economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.The Summit in Doha focused on sustainable development in the countries of the South and alleviating poverty in least developed countries. The first South-South Summit was held in Havana, Cuba, five years ago.