The government today decided to offer a fuel subsidy of Rs.25 a litre on kerosene and Rs.12 on diesel to fishermen with immediate effect.
This was decided at a discussion which was held at the Ministry of Fisheries for which all stakeholders including the fishermen and the ministry officials participated.
Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne told journalists the decision was made following a meeting between all stakeholders including the fisher folk in consultation with the Treasury.
He said the government would have to spend some Rs.3 billion a year for the subsidy at Rs.256.8 million a month.
The Minister said the subsidised fuel would be provided to fishermen in all fisheries harbours through Fisheries Department assistant directors deployed in all districts.
Dr. Senaratne said he had informed ministry officials to provide the subsidy to all fishermen irrespective of political and other affiliations.
The Minister also assured that there would be no price increase in fish.
Meanwhile, there were mixed reactions on the part of fishermen on the subsidy. National Fishermen’s Solidarity Movement Convenor Herman Kumara said some fishermen had welcomed the government offer while others has decided to continue with the struggle. He said some of the fishermen had resumed their fishing. They refrained from going to sea on Monday.
The Joint Fishermen’s Federation Coordinator Maxi Fernando said what the fishermen wanted was a revision of fuel prices. He said fishermen were not aware as to how the fishermen would get the subsidy. He said they should get fuel at a subsidised rate when they purchased fuel from the filling stations. (Yohan Perera)