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Number of Indian poachers increasing, say local fishers

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

More than 20 Indian fishing vessels poaching in the Sri Lankan waters off Kachchathiv Island on Wednesday evening had fled when the Navy arrived, Jaffna fishing association said yesterday.

“About 100 fishermen were in those vessels. On Tuesday (04) the navy chased away about 80 fishermen that came in 11 boats. However, the Indian fishermen continue to poach in our waters,” a representative of the Jaffna fishing association said.

He said that there were many allegations that Sri Lankan fishermen were involved in various smuggling activities with the help of their Indian counterparts and that had increased the chances of deadly Indian Coronavirus variants coming into the country.

“Those involved in smuggling and other activities are just a fraction of our fishermen. We are concerned about our safety and willing to work with the navy,” he said.

There was a high risk of the deadly Indian COVID-19 variant spreading into Sri Lanka, Chief Epidemiologist of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera told the media on Wednesday in Colombo.

Dr. Samaraweera said that Sri Lankan fishermen continued to interact with their Indian counterparts in mid-sea and therefore it was only a matter of time before the Indian variant entered the country.

“We must be extremely vigilant. We have seen the devastation caused by this variant in India. These mid-sea interactions by the fishing community must be stopped,” he said.

Navy Spokesman Captain Indika de Silva said the Navy had increased patrolling of the north and north western seas to prevent illegal migration.

The Navy Spokesman said they had moved several additional vessels to stations in the north and northwest to patrol the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) between Sri Lanka and India to prevent illegal immigration across the Palk Strait.

Capt. De Silva added that four Indian fishing vessels along with 21 Indian nationals had been taken into custody last week for smuggling in Sri Lankan waters. The vessels and suspected smugglers had been sent back to Indian waters due to the COVID-19 situation.



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Employees’ Trust Fund Act No. 46 of 1980 to be amended

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The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Hon. President in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to instruct the legal draftsman to prepare a bill to amend the Employees’ Trust Provident Fund Act No. 46 of 1980 enabling to provide health insurance similar to Agrahara health insurance to private sector employees.

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Cabinet nod for MOU between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives on Cultural Cooperation

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The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural affairs to sign a cultural cooperation agreement between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. (The draft agreement has received the clearance of the Attorney General and the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

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Outgoing Bulgarian Ambassador calls on the President

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(pic PMD)

Mrs. Eleonora Dimitrova, Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, met President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday (06), before departing for her home country upon completing her tenure in Sri Lanka.

 

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