Make best use of infrastructure facilities, PM tells fisher community | Daily News

Make best use of infrastructure facilities, PM tells fisher community

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa unveiling the plaque after initiating construction work of the Gandara Fisheries Harbour on Sunday. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena was also present. Picture by Priyan De Silva
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa unveiling the plaque after initiating construction work of the Gandara Fisheries Harbour on Sunday. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena was also present. Picture by Priyan De Silva

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa requested the fisher community to make use of the infrastructure provided by the Government productively to help Sri Lanka reach self-sufficiency in fish and related products. The Prime Minister made this request addressing the fisher community of Gandara after initiating the construction work of the Gandara Fisheries Harbour on Sunday.

The facility, a long overdue necessity and an unfulfilled election promise by successive governments will cost over nine billion rupees and is scheduled to be commissioned within three years.

"We expect to see at least 300 to 400 multi-day fishing craft among the other smaller vessels anchored at the facility after its completion", Premier Rajapaksa envisioned and called upon the community to ensure sufficient returns on the investment.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the Yahapalanaya government vindictively shelved almost all the fisheries sector development projects and other development projects initiated by his government between 2005 and 2015 and reminded those present that the Yahapalanaya regime even went to the extreme of using the Mattala International Airport as a silo to store paddy. "We have done away with the tax imposed on the fisheries sector by the Yahapalanaya government to encourage investment", he added.

The PM said that the thinking behind President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointing a Jaffna parliamentarian Douglas Devananda as the Minister of Fisheries and Matara district MP Kanchana Wijesekera as the State Minister of Fisheries was to ensure that the fisheries sector from North to South would be benefited equally.

State Minister of Fisheries Kanchana Wijesekera said that 12 of the 22 Fisheries Harbours in the country were initiated and completed under the leadership of the present Prime Minister who was a former Minister of Fisheries. Wijesekera said that the government intended to build more fisheries harbours in the Northern and Eastern Provinces as at present there were only two there. He also indicated that the Kalametiya fisheries would be commissioned early next year.

Ministers G. L. Peiris, Dullas Alahapperuma, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Matara District MPs Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Nipuna Ranawaka, Karunasena Kodituwakku, Government officials and stakeholders attended at the ceremony.