The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has been with the public for a long time and the fisheries industry plays a key role in Sri Lanka’s social and economic life, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
He was addressing the opening ceremony of the Peliyagoda state-of-the-art fish storage and marketing complex, Saturday.
“During the past three decades our fish production was reduced to seven percent from 43 percent due to war. We have liberated the North and East provinces from terrorists and that was the greatest thing we have done for the industry’s development, President said.
The President noted that the Government has another responsibility to uplift the lives of the fishing community i.e. to fulfill their children’s needs.
The government has established fisheries villages, Oceanographic Universities and introduced special loan schemes with low interest to uplift the fishing community. The need of a modern fish market complex was important for the improvement of the fisheries industry as well as for the convenience of the consumers.
With the opening of this fish market complex fishermen and customers will have the ideal environment to deal with each other, he further noted.
This new central fish market complex was built on a 3.17 hectare reclaimed marshy land along the main Katunayake airport expressway, spending Rs. 3.8 billion. The Government allocated Rs.1.9 billion from the 2006 budget and other Rs.1.9 billion had been provided by the Asian Development Bank as a loan.
The wholesale fish complex ground floor will have 148 stalls and retail fish market 128 stalls. The top floors have been allocated for Bank of Ceylon and Commercial Bank branches, post offices, shopping complex, police post, restaurant and a quality control room. A 25 MT ice factory, three cool rooms and a water purifying plant have also been set up.
The new fish trade centre has a modern parking facility as well. It will control vehicles by using computer technology and has enough space to park 500 vehicles. This system will control all stages of vehicle movement from the time it enters the fish market till it leaves.
President Rajapaksa allocated a large sum of money towards this fish market project while spending money on the war and it should be appreciated all the more, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said.
As a former Fisheries Minister President Rajapaksa has a good understanding about the needs of the industry. Accordingly he has initiated a number of measures in the recent past which have contributed significantly towards the progress of the industry, he added.
“I promise you that when the country becomes the Wonder of Asia under the Mahinda Chintana programme the fisheries industry will become the Wonder of Sri Lanka’s economy,” the Minister further said.