Fishermen line-up demands; protests in Negombo and Wennappuwa

Fishermen line-up demands; protests in Negombo and Wennappuwa

Written by Bella Dalima

18 Dec, 2013 | 10:04 pm

Fishermen in the Negombo and Wennappuwa areas engaged in a protest on Wednesday citing several demands. A group of fishermen who utilise multi-day fishing vessels engaged in a protest at the Thoppuwa junction, blocking several main roads.

The protestors charged that they do not receive the fuel subsidy; and also called on officials to stop foreign fishing vessels from entering into Sri Lankan waters.

They also called on the authorities to take steps to free Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian custody. The protestors dispersed after deputy Minister of Fisheries, Sarath Kumara Gunaratne arrived at the location and promised them an opportunity to air their grievances to the president.

Meanwhile, fishermen in the Negombo area engaged in protest on Wednesday charging that they have not received the fuel subsidy over the past seven months.

Chief Organiser of All Island Fisheries Union, Rathna Gamage said that the main cause behind this is the lack of diplomatic intervention on the part of the government.  He went on to state that the government of Sri Lanka should intervene diplomatically to free Sri Lankan fishermen in Indian custody.

Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources , Rajitha Senaratne said; “we accept that Sri Lankan fishermen entering Indian waters is wrong. However, Tamil Nadu is not out to exact vengeance. We are continuing to carry our discussions with the Indian government.”

On June 16 fishermen who attended the Newsfirst Gamadda programme raised the issue of fuel subsidies not being granted. We inquired about the matter from the minister once again on Wednesday as the fishermen had not received their fuel subsidies .

Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources , Rajitha Senaratne said; “We are planing to cancel the fuel subsidy in 2014 and instead pay a sum to improve their vessels and equipment. Thereby, multi-day vessels will receive Rs.374,000, single day fishing vessels will receive Rs.230,000 while other vessels will receive Rs.112,000.”

 

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