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President has devised plan to address issues faced by fishermen – Fisheries Minister

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A planned programme has been devised by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to address the issues faced by fishermen, said the Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda.

Under the theme of Collective Path to a Stable Country, Devananda made these remarks during a press briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre on Thursday (29).

The Minister emphasized the notable progress observed in all sectors of the country since President Ranil Wickremesinghe assumed office. He further highlighted that a comprehensive program is currently being implemented to resolve the challenges encountered by fishermen. The objective is to enhance the fishing industry and make necessary amendments to existing laws that align with future requirements.

Devananda added that the laws pertaining to the fishing sector are outdated. Consequently, a draft containing new legislation will be presented to the Cabinet before the year’s end. Following that, it will be submitted to the parliament for approval.

Addressing the issue of Indian fishermen engaging in illegal fishing activities within Sri Lankan waters, the Minister expressed concern over the adverse impact on the marine resources and the livelihood of local fishermen. He expressed hope that this matter will receive attention during the President’s forthcoming visit to India.

“Significant sea-related projects are already underway in the Northern Province, with the objective of implementing these projects on approximately 5,000 acres. Currently, projects related to water resources have been executed in an area spanning around 1,500 acres. A substantial number of investors have shown interest in participating, and efforts have been made to involve underprivileged individuals in these projects to uplift their living standards.

Furthermore, the President has addressed not only domestic but also international forums regarding the resolution of issues faced by the Tamil community and the need for reconciliation. While proposals for addressing the issues of the Tamil people are already outlined in the Constitution, the 13th Amendment provides an avenue for potential solutions. President Ranil Wickremesinghe is acknowledged as the sole leader capable of resolving the country’s issues, having already provided solutions to many existing challenges. Efforts are presently underway to resolve land disputes affecting the Tamil community, and steps have been taken to release individuals who were previously detained as political prisoners.”

The Minister called upon Tamil parties to actively contribute towards resolving these issues, cautioning against engaging in actions solely driven by political motives, as they hinder the prospects of resolving problems faced by the Tamil community.

Regarding the Express Pearl incident, he said that compensation has been provided to 15,032 fishermen directly affected by this disaster and 4,882 fishermen who have been indirectly affected. A total of Rs. 3,068 million has been allocated for this purpose in four phases. He added that compensation has already been disbursed based on information gathered from the Kalutara, Colombo, and Gampaha districts. The Ministry urges any additional affected individuals to come forward and provide their relevant information to the authorities.

Saturday, July 1, 2023 – 01:16

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