Ahmedabad, Feb 4 (IANS) A team from Gujarat is likely to leave for Pakistan next week to facilitate the bringing back of 22 Indian fishing boats intercepted and captured by its marine security agency.
The Pakistan government has recently announced the release of these boats as a goodwill gesture.
A State Fisheries Department official said on Thursday that a team comprising two officials of the department, two technical experts and two leaders of fishermen community is likely to leave for Karachi on February 9.
The team would facilitate the bringing back of the boats to Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the Porbandar Fishermen Boat Association has called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate efforts to bring back jailed Indian fishermen and their boats from Pakistan at the earliest.
In a letter to Modi sent on Wednesday, association president Manish Lodhari claimed that there were around 440 Indian fishermen, mostly from Gujarat, and around 860 boats in Pakistan’s custody.
He also said that out of these 860, 604 boats belong to Porbandar in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region and among them, 115 are in good shape and can be brought back.
“If these boats will not be brought here soon, they will also become useless,” the letter added.
Lodhari expressed hope that looking at the current “amicable” atmosphere between the two countries, it will be easier to bring the fishermen and their boats back home.
Claiming that even Pakistani authorities are willing to release the fishermen, Lodhari urged Modi to take prompt action in this regard.
Lodhari also wrote to Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh about the release of subsidy to fishermen under the soft loan package.
Meanwhile, a son of a fisherman from Gujarat who died in a Pakistan jail in December, has sent another letter to Modi urging him to intervene and expedite the process of bringing back his father’s body to their village in Girsomnath district in Saurashtra region.