Some fishermen’s associations that refrained from going to sea during the last few days have given up their protest after President Mahinda Rajapaksa had assured that they would be able to obtain the 25 per cent fuel subsidy through filling stations.
The Wellawidiya Joint Fisheries Association said they have decided to give up their protest against the fuel price hike after President Rajapaksa had sent a word through Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne and Western Province Minister of Fisheries Nimal Lansa, that arrangements would be made for the fishermen to obtain the fuel subsidy from filling stations.
Commenting on the matter Mr. Lansa said President Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Minister of Fisheries Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had studied the situation clearly and had decided to provide kerosene and diesel for the fishermen at Rs.24, less than the increased price. He said the fishermen were also assured unlimited stocks of fuel at the reduced rate.
Meanwhile President Rajapaksa has assured that he would meet fishermen and catholic priests as soon as possible to discuss the problems faced by the fishermen.
Mr. Lansa said the fishermen had decided to resume their work after these assurances were given.
However Negombo Multi Day Trawler Owners Association President, Joseph Fernando said they have not made any decision to resume their activities yet as they have not got a clear message. He said they have to study the pros and cons of the situation more, before taking a final decision.
Fishermen in Chilaw have not begun their livelihood activities yet according to the reports coming in from the area.
Fishermen decided to keep away from their livelihood after the government increased fuel prices. Protests were reported from Negombo, Kalpitiya and Chilaw last week during which one fisherman was killed. (Yohan Perera)