The debt burden which is felt by the South is also felt by the North, Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga stated.
He also emphasizes on the fact that for the development of the country, if anyone is Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim in not concern. North needs rapid development in order for reconciliation and unity of the country.
The Minister was addressing an event in Kites, Jaffna. According to the Minister, a safe passenger boat transportation service, between the islands would commence soon in the Jaffna peninsula.
“When developing the country, the country won’t be separated stating it’s the South. We hope to develop the country as a whole. North, South, East, and West equally. The problem we had in the recent past was money. We became a nation with debt. This affects to those who are in the East, West, and South and also to those who are in the North. But we have increased the development in North East rapidly. The coastal passenger transportation service project, which we begin today in Jaffna, is one of these development steps. Under this, we hope to improve and develop the living conditions of the inhabitants who live in the North Islands.”
Coastal passenger transportation service is a subject area that is considered under the Ministry of Ports and Shipping. This year the government has allocated an amount of Rs.50 million, for the expansion of this subject. These funds will be basically spent for proper implementation and monitoring of the coastal passenger transportation services between the islands in Jaffna. As the first step the Merchant Shipping’s sub secretariat office under the Ministry of Ports and Shipping was opened yesterday (2nd Sept.), in Kites, Jaffna. The construction of the proposed vessels inspection center was also begun at Kites, Suruvil. The necessary financing for future projects was also handed over today to the Government Agent N. Vethanayahan by the. Minister Ranatunga.
Coastal passenger transportation service is only done by 5 islands in Jaffna. They are Nagadeepa, Delft, Analathiv, Eluvathiv and Kareithiv. At most instances the passenger transportation is unprotected. The charges are not done in a proper methodology manner. Few vessels are dilapidated. An insurance policy is not used. No proper timetable is used. The prospect of the Ministry of Ports and Shipping is to identify such issues and find a permanent solution to it.