Chennai: Sixteen Tamil Nadu fishermen freed from an Iran jail will call upon Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to express their gratitude for her `timely intervention` in securing their release.
According to sources, the fishermen are scheduled to arrive here by 7.15 PM from Mumbai, accompanied by state fisheries Minister K A Jayapal.
The flight from Iran, scheduled for arrival in Mumbai at 12 PM landed after a 35 minute delay. Jayapal, along with state officials accorded them a warm welcome.
The fishermen, belonging to Ramanathapuram, Nagapattinam and Kanniyakumari districts have expressed a desire to meet Jayalalithaa to thank her and convey their gratitude in securing their release and for the financial assistance of Rs one lakh to each of their distressed families.
On arrival in Chennai, the fishermen are likely to be accommodated in the State Guest House at Chepauk. After calling on the Chief Minister, the fishermen are likely to continue for their onward journey home.
Meanwhile, an official release here said the Chief Minister has asked Jayapal to receive the fishermen at Mumbai airport and instructed officials to make travel arrangements at government expense for them to reach home.
Jayalalithaa in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 27, had drawn his attention to the plight of the fishermen after their families submitted a petition to her.
In her letter she said the fishermen had accidentally ventured into Iranian waters and were arrested. They were convicted to undergo six months imprisonment and were asked to a pay a fine of USD 5,750 each, she said.
For want of resources to pay the fine, they continued to languish in jail even after serving the term, she said, adding they had not even been able to contact the Indian embassy.
Jayalalithaa had requested the PM to take up the matter through diplomatic channels and ensure release of the fishermen.