|Wednesday, 21 November 2001|
Rs. 2.6 b boost for fishery
by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi
The construction of four new fishery harbours is now underway at a cost of Rs. 1,300 million in Hambantota (Rs. 500 million), Kalametiya ( Rs 300 million), Ambalangoda (Rs. 400 million) and Chilaw (Rs 100 million)
The projects are a part of an ongoing program launched by the Fisheries Ministry during the last seven years to improve the infrastructure facilities in the fishing sector. "The improvement of the infrastructure facilities has enabled the industry to reach new heights, increasing incomes and improving lifestyles of fishermen," Miniter Mahinda Rajapakse told the Daily News yesterday.
The latest Central Bank report indicates that fish production is increased by 4.9 per cent in year 2000 as against the corresponding figure for the same period in 1999.
Among the newly built fishery harbours are Kudawella (Rs 450 million, biggest fishery harbour in Sri Lanka), Hikkaduwa (Rs 220 million) and Moratuwa - Panadura (Rs. 120 million).
Besides, a number of old fishery harbours were rehabilitated and upgraded at a cost of Rs. 225 million. They are Puranawella, Beruwala and Mirissa." All these projects were carried out with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank", a Fisheries Harbour Corporation official said.
The Corporation also spent nearly Rs 35 million to upgrade four fishery harbours in Galle, Tangalle, Kirinda and Mutwal. The official said improvements included facilities for fuel, water, ice and a net mending centre.
Apart from that, anchorage facilities have been upgraded in areas such as Thotamune in Matara, Balapitiya and Saindamarudu in Kalmune.
The Ministry is also making arrnagements to introduce a new Provident Fund (PF) scheme for fishermen. To provide housing, the Ministry inaugurated a separate islandwide program called "Diyawara" fishery villages. Nearly 3000 houses have already been completed at a cost of Rs. 130 million in every fishing areas in the country," Ministry's Senior Assistant Secretary S. Liyanagama said.
Another 4,856 houses are now being built at a cost of Rs 210 million.
Three more housing schemes called "Diyawarapura" (similar to flats) have been completed in Moratuwa, Ratmalana and Tangalle. Each consists of more than 65 housing units. Construction is now under way on another two flats in Kirinda and Beliatta.
The Ministry has taken steps to provide water, electricity, access roads, children's parks, nursery schools, libraries, and communication centres, Fisheries Banks at every fishing village.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka earned a record Rs. 10 billion in foreign exchange from fish exports last year, recording a 91 per cent increase as against the previous year's earnings.
The corresponding figure for 1999 was Rs 5.4 billion. "In the year 1999, Sri Lanka exported 8870 tons of fish and other related products and in the year 2000, this was considerably increased up to 18,557.5 tonnes, recording a 109 per cent increase" Director of Export Development of the Ministry of Fisheries A. Hettiarachchi told the Daily News yesterday.
Produced by Lake House