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* Sri Lankan President says his government committed to protect democracy
Fri, Jan 18, 2013, 08:49 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 18, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today that his government acts according to the constitution with respect to the laws and committed to protect democracy and promised to take action against corruption regardless of the status of corrupt individuals.

"We safeguard and honor the democracy. We honor the laws of the country and work according to the Constitution. But according to the Constitution if a person commits fraud the government is prepared to remove that person regardless of their post or status," the President said.

Speaking at the opening of South Asia's largest fishery harbor in Dikkowita this morning, the President said corrupt individuals would be dealt with sternly irrespective of the position they held.

The President pointed out that Sri Lanka managed its economic growth despite the global downturn and some people not happy with the country's development are trying to bring an uprising similar to the Arab uprising in Libya.

"During the time when people were losing jobs and banks were closed, we managed to keep our banks open and keep our people employed," he said adding that as a result percentage wise Sri Lanka has the largest government sector.

"Some people don't like this and want to bring an Arabian style upsiring but only a fe people support that," the President noted.

The President also called on the people to support his government to eradicate the drug menace as they united to wipe out terrorism.

The Dikkowita Fisheries Harbor, constructed at a cost of Euro 51 million with the support from the Government of Netherlands, is the largest fisheries harbor in South Asia.

The Harbor was constructed to replace inadequate berthing facilities at various locations in the Negombo lagoon so that local fishermen can get to open water without having to negotiate the Hamilton Canal.

The new harbor, constructed by the BAM International of Netherlands in compliance with international standards, consists of two terminals for local and international operations and is designed to handle a daily catch throughput of 125 metric tons of fish.

The harbor basin with a depth of more than six meters could berth 500 vessels in both piers.

The harbor has facilities for bunkering shipping vessels with four ice plants, cool rooms, and fuel sheds, a large fish processing area, a large canteen, a fish net repairing facility and remote control operated boat lifting facility.

In addition it has an office building, a fish auction hall, crew quarters, a ship repair slip, parking space for large containers and vehicles, a wastewater treatment plant and a special waste disposal system.

The new harbor is equipped with modern conveyer belts to minimize post-harvest loss and to ensure high quality exports.

The close vicinity of the harbor to the Katunayake international airport makes it advantageous to the foreign trawler operators and the new harbor is expected bring in valuable foreign exchange and help Sri Lanka to be self-sufficient in fish products.

Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Felix Perera, Deputy Ministers Susantha Punchinilame, Sarath Kumara Gunaratne, Duleep Wijesekara, and Ambassdor of Netherlands Basr Van Noordemme participated in the occasion.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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