NorthEast Governor visits Mannar

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 July 2005, 16:24 GMT]
Fishermen from Pesalai and Talaimannar in Mannar district Friday complained to NorthEast Governor Mr.Tyronne Fernando that deepening of the Palk Straits under the Sethusamudram Canal Project (SSCP) would destroy the breeding ground of fish in the sea territory close to Mannar shore. Mr.Tyronne Fernando during his one-day visit to Mannar Friday afternoon met with groups of fishermen in Pesalai and Talaimannar separately and inquired about their grievances and difficulties, Mannar district secretariat sources said.

Fishermen further brought to the notice of Mr.Tyronne Fernando that their monthly catch in their sea territory is about 300 metric tonnes of fish most of which is transported to south. Poaching by Indian fishermen and the Sethusamudram Canal Project are certain to adversely affect their livelihood by reducing their catch, sources said.

Mr.Tyronne Fernando requested the fishermen to submit their grievances in writing to enable him to take up the matter with the Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister for further action, sources said.

Pesalai fishermen told the Governor that majority of them had fled from their homes in their boats and sought refuge in South India following the outbreak of violence in 1983. Since the signing of the ceasefire agreement refugees are returning leaving their boats in South India. Most of the sixty boats left in South India by them had been damaged.

In some instances Indian authorities are refusing to release the boats that are in good condition, Mannar fishermen pointed out to the Governor, sources said.

Fishermen requested the Governor to take immediate steps to provide them with new boats and fishing nets to restore their livelihood.

Mr.Tyronne Fernando promised to look into their request, sources said.

The Governor agreed to a request to establish 100-unit housing project for Pesalai fishermen. He added he would take steps to construct fifty houses in the first phase, sources said.

Mr.Tyronne Fernando agreed to release two hundred thousand rupees from Governor's Fund to construct a new building for Talaimannar St.Mary's School. He also said he would take steps through the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded NECORD to construct a new building for Pesalai St.Fatima School.

Mr.V.Visvalingam, Mannar Government Agent, Ms Stanley de Mel, Mannar Divisional Secretary, Mr.T.M.Tennokon, Senior Superintendent of Police, Vavuniya-Mannar, Mr.W.J.Premasiri, Mannar Headquarters Inspector, Mr.L.B.A.Tennekon, Mannar SP and several officials participated in the discussion, sources said.

At the commencement of his visit, Mr.Tyronne Fernando attended a discussion with heads of government departments in Mannar in the district secretariat. Not a single Vanni district parliamentarians including Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians and Minister Mr.Rishard Badiudin participated in the conference presided by the Governor.


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