BJP wants Katchatheevu back as lasting solution to TN fishermen's problems, says Annamalai


Coimbatore | The BJP wants to retrieve Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka, not for the sake of territory but to ensure a lasting solution to fishermen's problems, the party's Tamil Nadu President K Annamalai said on Tuesday.

Efforts are underway towards working out a concrete solution, he said.

Annamalai said he has been to Sri Lanka thrice and met the officials and political party leaders there in this regard. He came to the conclusion that a permanent solution to the issue must be found, he told reporters amid his political campaign for the Lok Sabha polls here.

"It is not that India doesn't have land. We have a vast extent of land. That's not our objective. We want Katchatheevu back to resolve our fishermen's problems," he said.

The BJP has put the spotlight on the issue now, after announcing its official stand two years ago that India needed to retrieve the islet, he said. At present, three options were being considered: either to obtain fishing licences for 10,000 men, or to seek permission for Tamil Nadu fishermen to fish in the island again or to ask Sri Lanka to hand over the island to India, he said.

"Technically, legally and scientifically, we want a solution and we are proceeding towards a concrete solution," Annamalai added.

The islet was ceded to Lanka in 1974 as per the India-Sri Lanka agreement.

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