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Union Minister asks seafarers not to go on strike

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LOST AT SEA: Members of the National Union of Seafarers of India holding a demo in Mumbai on Thursday demanding reimbursement from the Union Government of more than Rs 100 crore lost in the Seamen's Provident Fund fraud. - Paul Noronha

New Delhi , Aug. 26

THE Union Shipping Minister, Mr T.R. Baalu, on Wednesday said that the Government would find a "pragmatic" solution to the demand of the seafarers on the Seamen's Provident Fund (SPF) and urged them to desist from going on a strike from August 30.

"I have taken up the matter with the competent authority and have written to the Seafarers Unions not to go on strike," the Shipping Minister said.

The seafarers are seeking funds from the Government to recoup the Rs 92.78 crore loss caused to the SPF during the 2002 gilts scam.

Though the Finance Ministry has rejected the bailout proposal drafted by the Shipping Ministry, Mr Baalu held out an assurance to the seafarers, saying "their interests will be protected within the law of the land."

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