SLA stops NECORD work in Valvettithurai

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 September 2003, 16:53 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army Thursday stopped an Asian Development Bank funded project to assist fishermen on Jaffna’s Vadamaradchi coast even though the fisheries societies had obtained permission for the project from the SLA, fisheries sources in Vadamaradchi said.

"We obtained the approval of the army to construct five micro-breakwaters and to deepen the boat mooring area inside these. The Northeast Community Restoration and Development (NECORD) project provided 2.5 million rupees (26,000 USD) for the work,” said an official of the Federation of Fishermen’s Societies in Jaffna

The SLA Thursday stopped the Fishermen’s Cooperative Society in Aathikoilady, Valvettithurai, from starting work on constructing a micro breakwater for mooring fishing boats there.

The President of the Aathikoilady Fishermen’s Cooperative Society, Mr. Sellaiah Kuttithamby, told TamilNet that he had taken up the matter with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Jaffna.

Officials of the Federation of Fishermen’s Societies in Jaffna Thursday showed the five places where NECORD assisted work is to begin on constructing micro-breakwaters and deepening boat mooring space inside these.

The ADB funding for the NECORD project was aimed at developing mooring and landing facilities for fishermen on the long neglected Vadamaradchi coast, fisheries officials in Jaffna said.

In the past, before the war, the Vadamaradchi coast fisheries produced one of the highest volumes of catch in Sri Lanka. The industry is now in great doldrums due to years of bans and draconian restrictions on fishing, some of which are yet to be lifted or eased. Point Pedro, the main harbour on this coast, is out of bounds for local fishermen.

Their boats are now moored inside shallows created by primitive micro breakwaters formed by coral reefs by the Vadamaradchi coast.

“The NECORD project to construct proper breakwaters and deepen the boat mooring area would have provided a boost to the fisheries industry here,” said Mr. Kuttithamby.

The Sri Lanka military did not give reasons for stopping the work, he added.


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