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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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'Dip in fish prices'

Fishermen and fish prices are settling down after the government's offer of a kerosene subsidy,said Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Rajitha Senaratna's adviser Dr S Subasinghe yesterday.

"The fishermen are returning to their fishing jobs from the streets where they were protesting against the recent fuel hike, said Subasinghe. "It took some time for the fishermen to understand the "voluminousness" of the fuel subsidy given to them by the government, as certain forces with vested interests tried to mislead them for political milege," he said. "There was a couple of NGOs that were fanning the flames trying to create civil unrest,to fill their pockets with dollars, with the support of some local politician," he said.

Dr Subasinghe said certain NGOs and politicos were trying to cause unrest by using fishermen as their pawns at a time they were most vulnerable. He said,President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Fisheries Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratna were very sympathetic towards the fishermen. " It was a very generous on the part of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister Senaratna to work out an 80 per cent fuel subsidy for smaller boats and a 50 per cent fuel subsidy for multi-day fishing boats," he said.

"The government spends Rs 256 million monthly on the fuel subsidy for fishermen," he pointed out. "There has not been any considerable increase in fish prices as some would have thought", added Dr Subasinghe.

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