2nd lead (Corrections)

Trinco fishermen return from Tamilnadu with boats

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 September 2003, 15:33 GMT]
Fifty-three Tamil fishermen of Trincomalee arrived at the Codbay fisheries jetty in Trincomalee harbour Wednesday morning with 49 boats, which were towed by 12 Indian trawlers with 74 Indian crew, including 12 skippers and escorted by the Sri Lanka Navy gunboats. Two Indian government officials also accompanied the returnees, provincial rehabilitation ministry sources said.

On their arrival, the leader of the group, Mr. Muthulingam Siththirasenan, told the North East Provincial Rehabilitation Ministry Secretary, Mr.S.Sivathasan, who was at the Codbay jetty to receive them, that of the 53 boats, 4 unmanned small boats were lost in the sea due to choppy weather and could not be saved. The last of the four boats was lost in the Trincomalee Sea behind the rock temple in Koneswaram Wednesday early morning, Mr. Siththirasenan said

Trinco Fishermen Return from TN
The leader of the Trincomalee Tamil fishermen group, Mr.M.Sithtirasenan, soon after he landed at Codbay is seen reporting to NEPC Rehabilitation Secretary Mr.Sivathasan. Fishing boats are seen behind.


The Chief Secretary of the North East Provincial Council, Mr.S.Rangaraja, and Mr.Sivathasan received the returnees when they landed at the jetty, sources said.

Of the 53 Trincomalee fishermen, 29 returned to Trincomalee for the first time after 13 years since they fled to Tamilnadu in their fishing boats with their families when the Sri Lanka Army unleashed violence against the Tamil civilian population. The rest of the Tamil fishermen also fled to Tamilnadu as refugees in the 1990 violence but returned to Trincomalee some times later, leaving their boats in Nagapatinam in Tamilnadu following the refusal by Indian authorities to take them back, sources said

Trinco Fishermen Return from TN
Indian trawlers with Trincomalee refugee fishermen. The Chinabay Tokyo-Mitsui cement factory is seen in the background.


One of the 29 fishermen who returned Wednesday was the former vice chairman and member of the Trincomalee Urban Council, Mr.S.Gopalakrishnan alias Chandran. He was introduced to the current special commissioner of the Trincomalee Urban Council, Mr.S.Arumainayakam, who was at the jetty to receive the returnees. Mr.Arumainayakam also holds the post of Trincomalee Divisional Secretary, sources said.

The Sri Lanka's Chief Immigration Officer, Mr.G.Amarasena, with his assistants Messrs Nelson Abeyagunawaradene, G.I.Gunasekara and R.Saravanakumar, checked the travel documents of the returnees and the customs clearance was carried out in the presence of the Sri Lanka's Superintendent of Customs, Mr.K.R.Seneviratne.

Relatives of the returnees were at the jetty to receive their loved ones, sources said

Fishermen back from TN
A section of Trincomalee returnees from Tamilnadu.


Mr.Sivathasan and Mr.Rangaraja addressing the returnees later at the jetty said because of the assistance rendered by the Sri Lanka representative of the World Bank, Mr. Peter Harold, they were able to provide financial assistance to the refugee fishermen of Trincomalee to bring their boats back from Tamilnadu after 13 years.

A sum of 1.7 million rupees was allocated for the repairs and transport of the fishing crafts detained in Tamilnadu through the World Bank-funded North East Emergency Rehabilitation Project (NEERP), they said.



Trinco Fishermen back from TN
Trincomalee refugee fishermen from Tamilnadu being brought to Trincomalee Codbay fisheries harbour.




Fishermen back from TN
A returnee with his relatives who came to receive him

 

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