Feb 21, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government says it has allocated over 3 billion rupees annually to provide concessions for the fishermen to engage in their livelihood.
The Ministry of Fisheries has given 80 percent of fuel concession although the fisher committees have demanded for 50 percent, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development has said.
Meanwhile Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a sudden visit to the Tangalle fisheries harbor yesterday said his government has taken several measures to alleviate the problems the fishing community is facing and to provide expeditious concessions.
The fuel concession granted for the fishing industry will come into effect retroactively from February 13th for fishing 25,318 vessels in four categories, the Director General of the Department of fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Nimal has said.
The official has told the state-run TV ITN that the government is providing a 40 percent concession for diesel and 80 percent concession for kerosene oil. The concessions will cost the government 256.8 million rupees.
According to Hettiarachchi, the multi day fishing vessels will receive a monthly concession of 2,500 liters of diesel worth 30,000 rupees and one-day vessels 1,500 liters of diesel worth 18,000 rupees.
For fiberglass, OFRP and traditional boats with outboard engines a concession of 250 liters of kerosene worth 6,250 rupees will be provided.
Applications for this concession can be obtained from the Assistant Fisheries Directors of the 15 districts in which the fishing industry is being carried out.
However, the fishermen who use prohibited fishing gear will not get this concession, the Official has emphasized. The Petroleum Corporation has made arrangements to provide this concession under a coupon system.
A survey conducted today has shown that the despite the strike by the Negombo fishermen, the fish prices is low in the market since large stocks of fish are being received in the market from other areas.
(Photos by Chandana Perera)