Fisheries harbours to be sold next - JVP


by Saman Indrajith

The Yahapalana government is on a public asset selling spree and their next move is to sell the fisheries harbours to foreign companies, the JVP says.

Addressing a press conference held at the Party headquarters in Pelawatte on Tuesday, JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath said that the government has estimated the value of all fisheries harbours and anchorages including the Fisheries Corporation’s head office.

"The land, vehicles, buildings and properties of the Fisheries Corporation’s head office have been valued at Rs 280,443,000. Fisheries harbours at Tangalle, Kirinda, Mirissa, Puranawella, Kudawella, Suduwella, Nilwella, Valachchenai, Kalpitiya and Cod-Bay Fisheries harbours have been valued at Rs 1,692,753,950," he said.

MP Herath said former Fisheries Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne in October 2014 rented the Mutwal Fisheries Harbour to a British Company for less than the estimated value causing a Rs 470 million loss to the government.

"There are 20 functioning fisheries harbours in the country. There are 10 others which could be further developed. All together we have 30 fisheries harbours. Their main function is providing infrastructure facilities to fisher folk. Now the incumbent government’s fisheries minister Mahinda Amaraweera is trying to continue the work commenced by his predecessor and plans to sell the fisheries harbour off to private companies. He brought forward a cabinet paper to sell the fisheries harbours on Oct 12, 2016. The paper includes observations of the President, Defence Minister and the former Finance Minister. Neither the President nor the Minister of Finance has opposed the plans to sell them off.    

Selling off the fisheries harbours to the foreign companies would create a security problem too, the MP said. The government says that the Navy could provide protection. The Navy cannot look after all fisheries harbours. As we know the Indian fishermen poach in our waters irrespective of Navy protection. We call upon the government to stop selling off national assets.

The All Ceylon General Fishermen’s Federation Secretary Nishantha Ferdinando, Ceylon Fisheries Harbour General Workers’ Union’s convenor Gamini Wickremesinghe,  also addressed the press conference.

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