Mannar ferry service in limbo

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The District Secretariat of Mannar, has requested the Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES) permission to run a ferry service between Mannar and Kurikattuvan in the Jaffna Peninsula, for transporting over 7000 persons, now stuck in the Mannar island as refugees, back to their homes, said sources in Mannar.

These refugees are undergoing tremendous hardship currently due to the few facilities for accommodation and the shortage of basic amenities in the island of Mannar.

The Mannar Secretariat informed the CGES office in Colombo, that the ferry Ramona, now plying between Mannar and Kalpitiya along the coast of the North Western Province could be used for this purpose.

The Secretariat said that the Ramona could do the Mannar - Kurikattuwan run in four hours and carry up to 300 passengers per trip, said sources.

But others contest this saying that there are vested interests within the Ministry of Rehabilitation which are blocking the Ramona from being hired.

They say that thousands of people are stuck in Mannar while the officials are trying to push their interests by making the CGES reject the Ramona and go for larger ships which are hired at exorbitant rates.

Sources allege that kick backs to officials are involved in the hire of the other ships.

 

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