Gandhinagar, May 26 UNI | 2 months ago

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has sent in a team of senior officers of the Fisheries Department at the Wagah border in Punjab to receive 151 fishermen of the state released by Pakistan today.

"These fishermen held as hostage in Pakistan were freed by the Government of Pakistan as a gesture to reciprocate Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extending invitation to his Pakistani counterpart at the latter's swearing-in in New Delhi," a state government release said.

Patel said that the decision to free 151 Gujarati fishermen held hostage by Pakistan was important for bilateral relation.

Patel has in consultation with the Railways authorities arranged for special coach to bring them home. The train is scheduled to reach Veraval on the Saurashtra coast on May 29.

She described the event of historic importance which should go a long way to improve bilateral relation between the two countries. She also extended her greetings to the freed fishermen.

Out of 151 being fishermen freed today, 92 are from Junagadh, 10 from Valsad, five from Jamnagar, Navsari one and the rest from Diu-Daman, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal on board as boatmen when their boats when seized.

Patel recalled that the Gujarat Government had always pleaded the Centre to free fishermen held as hostages by Pakistan. So far, 4,682 fishermen have thus been freed.

"When the fishermen are thus held, the condition of their dependent families deteriorates. The Gujarat Government pays each family Rs 150 per day as compensation. About Rs 4.93 crore have been paid to them between 2004-05 and 2012-2013," the Chief Minister added.

(Posted on 27-05-2014)