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General Secretary of the United People’s Freedom Alliance and Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Mahinda Amaraweera spoke to the Nation regarding rumours of a sizeable number of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs moving out of the Government and joining the Joint Opposition (JO), the proposed new fisheries law and plans concerning the disastrous Uma Oya project

Q : How is the Party and Alliance addressing the multitude of voices within the SLFP and the JO talking about taking leave from the Government?

A : These are false statements. There is no such exodus from the SLFP. The relevant group has met with President Maithripala Sirisena and discussed about various other matters but not about them leaving. Sirisena has not been informed or told of such. These are lies and no such move will take place.

Q : What is the current status of the new fisheries law?

A : This proposed law and ban is not one that targets fishermen from Tamil Nadu. Even in India, bottom trawling is banned. This law will be applicable to Sri Lankan fishermen and everyone else. Bottom trawling destroys the sea/Ocean bed. We cannot let that happen. There is no need for Tamil Nadu to get bothered about this. Even if they do get riled up, there is nothing that can be done about that. We cannot let the environmental resources get destroyed.

Q : What will be the course of action taken in relation to the Uma Oya project?

A : Compensation is going to be paid to those affected including the residents by September. Regarding the project, consultants are expected to arrive by July 31 or August 1. They will submit a report before August 15, following which the Government will take decisions in this regard.