Nagercoil (TN): Twentyone fishermen from Tamil Nadu who went to Iran for jobs are in dire straits, with no pay and little food, and their travel documents impounded by their employer, a fishermen’s welfare body said today and urged the government to take steps for their safe return.
They belong to Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts, and had gone to Iran to take up fishing activity on a “share in income” arrangement with a firm, International Fishermen Development Trust president P Justin Antony said. “The fishermen went to a location near Bandar Abbas in Iran about a year ago after paying a huge sum in India to agents who assured them of lucrative income,” Antony told PTI. He said the victims decided to go abroad as fishing was not so remunerative back home.
However, they were not being paid for about six months and their passports and other travel documents were taken away by the firm, he alleged. “This has put them in dire straits and they are struggling to meet even their basic needs like food. The kin of the fishermen have requested the district authorities to take steps for their safe return,” he said.
A Kanyakumari district official said out of these eight are from the district and steps are under way to bring all the 21 fisherfolk back. “The process is on. All authorities concerned are being notified to help bring our fishermen back home.”
Antony said the Centre should work with countries like Iran, where Indian fishermen take up assignments, to ensure they are covered by the labour laws of the nations of their employment. Noting that such agreements will help fishermen, he said Indian embassies should hold ‘grievance day meet’ with them periodically to address their problems.