Saturday, June 27, 2009

Despite CM’s intervention, ship on mercy mission gets no relief

Published Date: 24-June-2009
G Saravanan

Chennai, June 23: FOUR days after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi shot off a letter to Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna seeking immediate intervention on the issue related to a ship on a mercy mission to Lanka - but anchored in international waters off Chennai Port for the past few days - there has been any progress on the ground.

On Friday last, soon after reports that MV Captain Ali was anchored off Chennai and waiting for a positive response from the Indian government for unloading the relief material since Colombo turned away the ship from its sea territory claiming that it was hired by the LTTE, hectic activities began in Tamil Nadu political circles.

Chief Minister Karunanidhi deputed his Higher Education Minister Ponmudy with a detailed letter to meet Krishna in New Delhi personally. Ponmudy met Krishna in Delhi on Friday evening and urged him to persuade Lanka to allow unloading of the relief materials sent by Tamils in Europe through the ship.

By late Friday, there were reports from New Delhi that Krishna had assured speedy action on TN request. Four days have gone now, but there is no forward movement in the matter.

According to a shipping agent, the ship was asked to move into deep sea on Monday, perhaps to keep the media at bay. Confirming the development, a senior official of Chennai Port Trust said: “We did not get any request from anyone including its local agents for any help and the ship is now in high seas.”

Meanwhile, VCK chief and MP Thol Thirumavalavan criticised New Delhi’s apathy towards the ship and condemned the Central government’s indirect move to force the ship out of the Indian Ocean.

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