Prompt solution to check illegal Indian fishing - Devananda | Sunday Observer

Prompt solution to check illegal Indian fishing - Devananda

29 November, 2020

Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda told the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Fisheries in the Parliament complex recently that a prompt solution will be reached to prevent Indian fishermen fish ingillegally, crossing the territorial waters of Sri Lanka, after consulting the Indian Embassy in Colombo and the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi. State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that the Indian fishermen have been fishing illegally not only in the Northern and Eastern territorial waters but also in the Southern territorial waters and that prompt action should be taken to end such illegal activities.

The Ministers were responding to a question raised by MPs Charles Nirmalanathan, S. Sridharan and Deputy Chairperson of Committees Angajan Ramanathan.

Minister Devananda said the issue of illegal fishing by Indian fishermen outside their borders had been discussed with the Indian Embassy in Colombo on several occasions and the matter was also taken up during an online discussion recently between Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Minister said that though an agreement to resume the stalled discussions between the two countries was reached, steps in that regard are yet to be taken and talks are ongoing with the Indian Embassy in Colombo and the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi for a solution.

MP Charles Nirmalanathan and the Deputy Chairperson of Committees Angajan Ramanathan said that the Sri Lankan Navy intervened recently to prevent Indian fishermen from crossing the territorial waters of Sri Lanka, as the current Covid-19 pandemic had led to a large number of Indian fishermen crossing the border illegally and called upon the Minister to find a solution to the issue even if it needs the intervention of the Navy.

MP Dr. Upul Galappaththi requested to expedite the development of the Kirinda and Hambantota fishing harbours to which State Minister Kanchana Wijesekerare sponded that the Fisheries Ministry is already doing so.

Minister Devananda said attention has been paid on converting the Oluvil Port into a fishing harbour. State Minister Wijesekara said they hope to present a Cabinet paper in this connection in the near future. He said there was a legal issue regarding the land acquired for the Crab City project proposed to start in Rekawewa in Hambantota during the last government, and that after resolving the issues steps have been taken to carry out the project in collaboration with the private sector.

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