India under a grant assistance to Sri Lanka has donated 175 boats and fishing equipment worth 71 million rupees to the Internally Displaced Personas (IDPs) in Mannar.
The High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha visited Mannar District on December 02 and handed over 175 boats with one outboard motor each and twelve fishing nets to 350 beneficiaries.
The boats were handed over to the northern fishermen in the presence of Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, and Minister of Industries and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner highlighted that India's assistance to the Sri Lankan people has evolved taking into account the immediate needs and requirements as articulated by the Sri Lankan government.
India's assistance, which focused on emergency relief assistance towards the end of the armed conflict and in its immediate aftermath, has gradually focused on the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
India is also working on a project to strengthen the existing fishnet factory at Gurunagar, Jaffna by supplying equipment at a cost of 152 million rupees, which would result in substantial employment generation.
The subsequent requirements of re-construction are being addressed through the flagship Indian housing project, the Northern Railway reconstruction project and other infrastructural development initiatives. In parallel, several small development projects have been implemented to promote livelihood generation activities and the gifting of 175 fishing boats is a part of efforts to rejuvenate the economy of the Northern Province.
Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, pointed out that the hallmark of Indian assistance was that all her support to Sri Lanka has come in the form of grant assistance. He thanked the Government of India for implementing several livelihood projects, including the grand housing project involving construction of 50,000 houses for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Rishad Bathiyutheen, Minister of Industries and Commerce, also thanked India for the continuous support extended to implement a variety of projects aimed at resettlement of the IDPs in the conflict-affected areas and restoration of their livelihoods.
The handing over ceremony was also graced by Governor of Northern Province G.A. Chandrasiri, MP Hunais Farook, Musali Pradesiya Sabha Chairman W.M.Ehiyan, and several other senior officials.