Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda stated that a prompt solution will be taken to obviate Indian fishermen from illegally fishing crossing the territorial waters of Sri Lanka after consulting with the Indian Embassy in Colombo and the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi. He stated the above at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Fisheries held yesterday (25) in Parliament.
State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera pointed out that Indian fishermen have been fishing illegally not only in the Northern and Eastern territorial waters but also in the Southern territorial waters and thus measures to put an end to such illegal activities should be done with immediate effect.
The Ministers stated the above in response to a concern raised by the Members of Parliament Charles Nirmalanathan, S. Sridharan and the Deputy Chairpersons of Committees Angajan Ramanathan.
State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, Deputy Chairperson of Committees Angajan Ramanathan and Members of Parliament, (Dr.) Upul Galappaththi, Charles Nirmalanathan, S. Sridharan, Kader Masthan, Shantha Bandara, Chandima Weerakkody, H. M. M. Harees were present at this meeting.
The Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda stated that the issue of illegal fishing by Indian fishermen outside their borders has already been discussed with the Indian Embassy in Colombo on a number of occasions and that the matter was also taken up during an online discussion held recently between the Hon. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Hon. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Adding to it the Minister stated that though an agreement to resume discussions which was stalled between the two countries were made, a measure on that regard is yet to be taken and that consultation is ongoing with the Indian Embassy in Colombo and the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi in search of an immediate solution.
MP Charles Nirmalanathan and the Deputy Chairperson of Committees Angajan Ramanathan pointed out that the Sri Lankan Navy has intervened in the recent past to prevent Indian fishermen from crossing the territorial waters of Sri Lanka, the current COVID situation has led to a large number of Indian fishermen crossing the border illegally and requested the Minister to find a solution to the issue even if it requires the intervention of the Navy.
MP (Dr.) Upul Galappaththi requested the Minister to expedite the development of the Kirinda and Hambantota fishing harbors to which the State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera stated that the Ministry of Fisheries is already working on that regard.
The Minister of Fisheries disclosed that attention has been paid on converting the Oluvil Port into a fishing harbor. Adding to it the State Minister mentioned that the Ministry intend to present a Cabinet paper on the aforesaid in near future.
The state Minister also pointed out that there is a legal issue regarding the land acquired for the Crab City project which was proposed to be started in the Rekawewa area in Hambantota during the last government period and post resolving these issues, steps have been already taken to carry the project forward in collaboration with the private sector.