19 January 2018

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07/13/2007 SRI LANKA

Fishermen protest against higher kerosene prices

Fishing communities complain about 30 per cent hike in kerosene price. Colombo approves government fuel subsidies but then turns around and raises prices blaming the civil war and the tsunami for the economic crisis.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Sri Lanka’s fishermen have organised a national protest against government hike in fuel prices. With banners reading “Lower fuel prices” and “Protect Fishermen’s Rights,” protesters took to the streets of Colombo and other towns in the country.

Demonstrators want the price of kerosene, the main fuel, to be lowered after the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation raised it last week by 16 rupees or 30 per cent. Until recently kerosene was seen as a poor man’s fuel and was subsidised by the government.

The decision directly affects fishermen, especially since the 2004 tsunami, when their homes and equipment sheds were moved away from the coastline. This has led to higher transportation costs with moving fishing gear to and fro the beach costing up to 600 rupees (US$ 5.50)

AsiaNews talked to some of the fishermen in the Kalutara area, south of Colombo, who do not understand the reason for the hike.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Anthony Peresa, a local Catholic fisherman. “Colombo approved the fuel subsidies but did not apply them. Now it is raising the prices.”

Other fishermen complain about the great economic difficulties they face in the current economic situation. One group just back from the sea said that the “government keeps on saying that the current situation is due to the civil war and the tsunami. We can’t accept that. Our political leaders had several possibilities to rebuilt the country and ensure some degree of economic stability but they blew it and so the poor are the ones to suffer.”

See also

23/12/2005 SRI LANKA
Tsunami emergency over but housing remains priority

The work of Caritas and other NGOs has yielded satisfying results. All have shelter but many people are still living in centres for displaced. The government has forbidden reconstruction along the coast but it has yet to identify land for new homes.

14/02/2012 SRI LANKA
Govt ignores fuel protest by thousands of Catholic fishermen
A Negombo men, women and children from Western Province block roads, torch street signs and burn tyres. They fear higher fuel prices will wipe out small-scale fishery. Fisheries minister agrees to subsidies but says price hike will go ahead.

16/02/2012 SRI LANKA
One person dies in clashes with police as fuel protests spread
Police use tear gas, water cannons and guns to stop demonstrators. Protests spread across the country. Small-scale fishermen and private bus companies are hardest hit. Social activists denounce low wages and a high cost of living.

02/05/2009 SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka denies fishermen’s’ rights as it celebrates Labour Day
In 2007 the International Labour Organisation set out a convention to safeguard the work of fishermen, but the Colombo government refuses to ratify it.

11/11/2017 09:50:00 SRI LANKA
Colombo, environmental protection: Catholic and Buddhist girls clean up a beach

They are students of the Holy Family Convent of Kalutara. The School Prefects Union launched the "Green School" environmental reclamation project. Waste has been differentiated for recycling.

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