Sunday, 14 April 2002  
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Kokilai fishermen still in doldrums

by Deepal Warnakulasuriya

The fisherfolk of Kokilai, a war-torn area in the east coast are still faced with problems. Representatives of the Kokilai St. Ana Fishing Society revealed that they have been given limited areas for fishing and have also been given a prescribed a time frame which has hampered their fishing program.

"Almost all those in Kokilai have a boat and more than 200 boats fishing in a limited area is only a wastage of fuel and time", the Secretary of the Society, Dudley Sebastian told the Sunday Observer. The Army had restricted fishing times from 6.00 am to 5.00 pm. and after the MoU was signed , the Army has extended the fishing the time for fishing from 5.00 am to 6.45 pm.

Villagers in Kokilai were of the opinion that the time frame was not enough for fishing. "We have been restricted from going to the deep sea. It was not paying us as they pay high rates to rent out boats and for fuel. They also pointed out that the water supply to Kokilai was also not satisfactory since the water lines were installed 30 years ago.

They made these complaints to the Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena who was on a tour of Kokilai to donate dry rations, toilet equipment, water tanks and roofing sheets. The Junior Old Boys Association of Mahanama College were also instrumental in this project. Minister Jayawardena promised to sort out their problems with assistance from the security personnel.

The Junior Old Boys' Association of Colombo Mahanama College promised to supply water tanks to Kokilai village within two months.

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