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Indo-Lanka fishermen’s crisis still unsolved

3 September 2014 06:48 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The fisheries issue has clouded India - Sri Lanka ties. The fishermen, from both the countries get arrested constantly.  Apart from Tamil Nadu fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and poaching in Sri Lankan waters,
Sri Lankan fishermen also get arrested in Indian territorial waters. As a measure to prevent such arrests, Sri Lanka sought Indian assistance to ensure a safe passage through Indian territorial waters for its fishermen to enter the Arabic Sea for fishing.



irector General of Fisheries Nimal Hettiarachchi said this request was made during official level talks in New Delhi last week.
“We asked for a safe passage to be used by our fishermen in entering the Arabic Sea for fishing in international waters,” he said.
Besides, he said the two sides agreed to develop sustainable fisheries.  The next round of talks will be conducted in another six months in Colombo.
This is the first round of official level talks conducted after the new Government assumed office in India.

In Sri Lankan waters, bottom trawling is a banned fishing gear.  But, Tamil Nadu fishermen, poaching in Sri Lankan waters, use bottom trawling causing       extensive damage to the marine ecology. However, at a recent meeting in the North, M.K. Sivajilingam, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member, raised an interesting point along with the representatives of some northern fisheries societies.
Mr. Sivajilingam, notorious for fiery and inflammatory speeches, and various other antics to get his message across,     asked for permission for northern fishermen to use bottom trawling.

“If Indian fishermen can do it in our waters, why can’t our fishermen do it?” he asked.
However, the fishery is a subject not devolved to the provinces, and the decisions are taken by the line ministry of the central government as a result.  The line Ministry has recently vowed to take action against those using bottom trawling in the sea off Velvetithurai in the Jaffna district following complaints about it.
The Fisheries Ministry has taken its stand that bottom trawling has been banned all over the country, and there cannot be an exception in the North.  A meeting is scheduled for September 10 in Jaffna with all stake holders to discuss the issue.


Sajith not present in Kalawewa


"A couple of days ahead of the summit, MP Harrison tried to contact Mr. Premadasa over the phone to get his official confirmation on his participation.  But, the phone was in silent mode.   So, he left a message with Mr. Premadasa’s office in Hambantota."


The main opposition United National Party (UNP) organised a convention of the farming community in the Kalawewa electorate of the Anuradhapura district. Posters, pasted on walls and poles in the electorate, says that both party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Hambantota district MP Sajith Premadasa are slated to address food crop cultivators in the Anuradhapura district. MP Harrison, as the organiser of the meeting, asked for some photos of MP Premadasa to be printed for this particular event. Posters sprung up in the area announcing that both Mr. Wickremesinghe and Mr. Premadasa would address paddy cultivators.

A couple of days ahead of the summit, MP Harrison tried to contact Mr. Premadasa over the phone to get his official confirmation on his participation.  But, the phone was in silent mode.   So, he left a message with Mr. Premadasa’s office in Hambantota.  In their eagerness to see both Mr. Wickremesinghe and Mr. Premadasa on the same stage, paddy cultivators assembled   at Avukana Junction in Galnewa of the Kalawewa electorate. But, MP Premadasa did not turn up.   Eventually, even farmers who were present started inquiring about the absence of Mr. Premadasa at the event on August 31.




TNA unsuccessfully woos Jayalalitha


"Ms. Jayalalithaa has declined to give an appointment to the TNA leader for a meeting. Against this backdrop, the TNA is making fresh bids to woo the support of Tamil Nadu MPs representing ruling Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP)."


After meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan rushed to Chennai both for his regular medical checkup and a meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram.
However, it is learnt that Ms. Jayalalithaa has declined to give an appointment to the TNA leader for a meeting. Against this backdrop, the TNA is making fresh bids to woo the support of Tamil Nadu MPs representing ruling Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP).

Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundare is gathering views of all concerned these days to prepare the 2015 budget to be debated in Parliament in November. Apart from his engagements with the respective ministries, he interacted with the provincial authorities including chief ministers for progress reviews in respective  areas and identification of aspects  in the economy that warrant key attention in the upcoming budget.

After completion of his meetings with the authorities of North Western and Central Provinces, he arrived in the Sabaragamuwa Province along with officials.  Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Mahipala Herath, his Ministers and officials prepared themselves for the meeting with Dr. Jayasundara Dr. Jayasundara and his team arrived in a bus to the Provincial Council Office. Along with the Chief Minister, Provincial Ministers Ranjith Bandara and Athula Kumara Rahubadda had arrived in time to receive them.

Afterwards, they were hosted for tea with local snacks first. Dr. Jayasundare tasted one Welithalapa
(a sweetmeat), and asked for one more.
Provincial officials who noticed this murmured to each other, “Dr. Jayasundara’s taste buds appeared to have been tantalized by Sabaragamuwe Welithalapa,”
After refreshments, the meeting took place. The seating arrangements had been made for the two groups on either side of the table.
“Oh it looks like a meeting between the ruling party and the opposition,”Dr. Jayasundara said.
The Chief Minister remarked, “There is no division between us. We are one group.”

The Provincial Council put forward various proposals to be considered in the formulation of budgetary proposals. Making his remarks, Dr. Jayasundara said there were industries identical to each province, and it would be economically advisable to identify them. Citing the Pinnawala tourism zone, he said.


Joy tours for voters

Though the Election Commissioner has ruled out that the distribution of items bearing the numbers and symbols of candidates is prohibited, it has happened.  In one instance, cash cheques have been issued to drought hit sugar cane farmers at a meeting conducted in the Mahinda Rajapaksa Hall in Wellawaya. Though this looks like an act of benevolence, it has been a subtle move to promote a certain candidate.  
There are allegations against a certain candidate that people are taken in hired buses to see the Mattala Airport and the Hambantota Port  at his expense.  People participating in such tours are even offered water bottles as his donations.  This is yet another promotional activity that speaks for the deterioration of political culture.


 


MR condoles with Mano Ganeshan


"The President expressed his sympathies on the demise of Mr. Ganeshan’s beloved mother."



President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was in the United States last week on a private visit, contacted Democratic People’s Front  leader Mano Ganeshan. The President expressed his sympathies on the demise of Mr. Ganeshan’s beloved mother. Though Mr. Ganeshan’s party is opposed to the government, his brother Praba Ganeshan serves   as a deputy minister of the government at the meeting. Mr. Ganeshan politically fell out with his brother over his decision to switch allegiance to the government.
However, leading politicians    attended the funeral last week, and, among them were Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, MP Namal Rajapaksa. Besides, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and other party leaders attended it.

Also, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa attended the funeral, and had a cordial chat with Mr. Ganeshan. He even asked Mr. Ganeshan to arrange a meeting with Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran to discuss issues to be sorted out.
Mr. Ganeshan conveyed the message to Mr. Wigneswaran forthwith. However, there was no response from him so far.   


Politically motivated receptions


"Even before the nominations were called for, there were complaints about incidents in which roofing sheets, water tanks, chairs and kitchen utensils were distributed among people, clearly with political interests."


During recent elections, PAFFREL says, it has become a common phenomenon to host voters for receptions as a vote catching gimmick. It is also common that voters are offered various inducements for the same purpose. Especially, the items bearing the names, preferential numbers and party symbols of candidates in the fray are distributed in this manner.  Even before the nominations were called for, there were complaints about incidents in which roofing sheets, water tanks, chairs and kitchen utensils were distributed among people, clearly with political interests.


Election law violated unabated


"Democratic Party led by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has been denied of the opportunity to conduct meetings at certain public places even by reserving them for the purpose with the necessary cash payment made to the relevant local authorities"



The election law is being continuously violated in the Uva Province. The dangerous trend looks alarming in the Moneragala district. Apart from the violence unleashed on political opponents,   the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) flouts the law without any qualm, even using education officials to canvass votes for a powerful candidate on its   ticket.

In one instance, the Zonal Education Director of Bibile has convened the school Principals for a meeting at a hotel in the Bibile town and asked them to vote for the ruling party candidate Sashindra Rajapaksa. According to the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), this form of canvassing is a result of the precedent set by some politicians during the previous Southern Provincial Council Election.   During that election, a Zonal Education Director asked the Principals of schools coming under his purview to support a certain candidate.

Democratic Party led by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has been denied of the opportunity to conduct meetings at certain public places even by reserving them for the purpose with the necessary cash payment made to the relevant local authorities.  The party emerged as a force to reckon with at the last election. PAFFREL says that this party once reserved the ground in front of the Badalkumbura Bus Stand to conduct a political rally. For that, it paid money to the Pradeshiya Sabha. Nonetheless, the local authorities informed the party of their inability to release the land for this political rally.





 

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