AKD proposes comprehensive plan to reduce poverty
The National People’s Movement Candidate for the Presidency Anura Kumara Dissanayake is saying that rural poverty in the country is being exacerbated by increasing debt and a comprehensive plan is needed to solve this major issue.
Dissanayake says that the parties that have ruled the country before this have made the country poorer by taking loans. “When they can’t pay back the money they sell the assets like the Rajapaksa regime sold the land next to the Galle Face green,” he said addressing fisher groups in Tangalle yesterday.
This he says has not reduced the poverty levels in the country, but increased the number of poor people. “The very existence of these people depends on keeping you in poverty. That is while they will not free us from poverty. I feel for the people who go after them when they come canvassing because they want jobs to make a living, a deed for their land or roofing sheets for their houses.”
He says at election times these leaders “appear like Santa Clauses and offer gifts to the people, like free fertilizer, a glass or milk or a bag of nutrients for pregnant women.”
These rulers he said use their wealth and the power of the Media that they control. “Did you see that Media Conference,” he asked. The candidate could not answer the questions and had to get other people to answer.
Others continue to use the word ‘I’ as they are focused on themselves. “I believe that serving a country is a collective effort and that is what we have come to do.”
Addressing the fisherfolk he said that modern technology needs to be used to increase harvests and make fishing more efficient.
He pointed out that the sea around us is the greatest natural resource this country has. “We must exploit the resource in a sustainable manner,” he said.
“In India, the state provides data and information to the fishers where they can find the fish,” he said. “The fishermen in India are harvesting up to two tons of fisher in a square kilometre while we are catching only about 900 kg,” he said.
He also said that fishermen in the long-range boats spend up to 40 days out at sea. “They end up being at sea for about 300 days of the year and this places a big strain on their families.”The wives have to deal with all the domestic issues as well as numerous social obligations, he said
He also said that fishermen must be cushioned from price variations in fish. “The solution is to have accessible storage facilities so that there is stability in the market,” he added.
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies