VIDEO: Lifejackets can be made mandatory to please ourselves – Rajitha

VIDEO: Lifejackets can be made mandatory to please ourselves – Rajitha

June 14, 2013   04:42 pm

Minister Rajitha Senaratne today stated that introducing laws to make floatation devices mandatory for fishermen is not practical and that they can make wearing lifejackets mandatory to “please ourselves”.

The Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development stated that they have distributed over 10,000 lifejackets and thousands of life preservers to fishermen.

“Some people are asking us to make these mandatory. We can make this mandatory to please ourselves,” he told reporters today.

The minister stated that it will be similar to mandatory helmets for motorcycles, which people wear in junctions and remove them in village roads. Similarly, he said, fishermen will put on life jackets when leaving the harbor and take it off as soon as they reach the deep sea.

On Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera’s proposal to ask the Navy to monitor and arrest fishermen not wearing lifejackets, Senaratne stated that if he asks the Navy to do that duty they will think he has a “mental illness” and that the navy cannot be used like the traffic police.

Minister Rajitha Senaratne stated that, after repeated negotiation with a company, he introduced an insurance policy for fishermen community which charges a mere Rs 750 per year.

The insurance policy provides Rs 100,000 in case of such disasters, Rs 5000 per month for the family of missing fishermen, a scholarship for their children to be educated till they reach the age of 18, he said.

The insurance policy not only applies if the fisherman dies at sea, even if he died in a road accident the family is compensated, he said.

This insurance policy will be mandatory for fishermen with effect from January 2014, the Minister emphasized. 

He further said that boat owners, fishermen will not be allowed to venture out to sea without obtaining the insurance and they will not provide with permits until they do so.

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