Northern Province Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan last week declared that he serves the people to uphold social justice.
“I never asked for any post and never contest for it. The time has decided because I serve the people to uphold social justice,” the Governor said while participating at the opening ceremony of newly-renovated Myliddy Fishing Harbour constructed at a cost of Rs. 150 million in order to uplift the livelihood of Vali-North fishermen. It was declared open and handed over to the public by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“I thank His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena for selecting me and appointing me as a Governor of this province for the last seven months. You know, I am no politician and no government administrator. I’ve come from an academic background. One day, as many say by December I’ll go back to my academics. But between that time, I try must best to do what I have commanded. That is to serve people who are in the province.
“Sri Lanka is the second-largest island in the Indian Ocean, first being Madagascar which is nine times bigger than Sri Lanka. It is nine times bigger than Sri Lanka. We have failed to build a fishing industrial culture in this country. Most of the fishing is still coastal fishing. We have deep sea fishing too but we haven’t even thought of international fishing. In 1982, almost 42% of the fisheries production came from the North and East province particularly Northern Province.
“Building harbours will bring interdependence between the North and South. I congratulate honourable Prime Minister for taking initiative and leadership. 1.3 million people in the Northern Province, can be the producers and the suppliers to the 19 million people below us. We will have an interdependent economy. Some pundits say that kind of interdependency is not possible. But we argued that though Sri Lanka is small enough but it has a big market for its own products.
“The next step from here is to build water management. Though Sri Lanka second larger island in the Indian Ocean, it is the island which has the 2,500-year of written history. We were smart enough to do things. One is to rainwater harvest. The second is the fishing that provides us the animal protein.
“In the last 15 years, over 10 fishing harbours were renovated from Puttalam to Pottuvil. But none were done in the north. From Pesalai to Thondamanaru, we have identified five fishing harbours. Now we have moved one step. I thank the Prime Minister for it. But we should not stop here. Point Pedro harbour has to be constructed and I impose, once the construction is finished that will be the largest fishing harbour in the country.
“The Mannar Mathoddam was seen as the most important port in the history of Sri Lanka. But Mannar did not develop for many years. It is still seen as a backward district. This is useful only for university admission. It has to be developed.”
The Governor also pointed out that in interdependent democracy, one produces and one consumes and one decides and other practices that kind of participatory democracy “is important for us to go forward”.