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Lankan navy still maintains vigil in Palk Strait

[Express Buzz, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 08:07 No Comment]

Even in the changed context after the defeat of LTTE, the Sri Lankan navy has not let down its guard in the Palk Strait, a narrow stretch of sea between Sri Lanka and India.

Naval spokesman, Commodore D K P Dassanayake, told The New Indian Express here on Monday that the existing level of vigil was being maintained. He, however, denied that patrolling has been “stepped up” as reported in a local daily.

FISHING TO BE MONITORED: The Island daily quoted an unnamed senior official saying that despite the easing of restrictions, fishing movements to and from the northern, eastern and north-western seas would be “strictly monitored” to thwart fishermen from engaging in smuggling and other illegal activities. Fishing restrictions were lifted on June 19.

The navy had said that fishermen could now operate in the seas extending from north of Kokilai up to Nachchikuda during day or night. But special entry and exit points had been established to control the movement of fishing craft.

Fishermen have been allowed to use out-board motors of up to 15 horse power. Previously, the navy had allowed only 9.9 horse power engine capacity in the northern and eastern waters. But all fishing craft engaged in night time fishing should be illuminated and fitted with radar reflectors.

TREMENDOUS COST OF WAR: The Sri Lankan army had lost 190 officers and 5,200 other ranks in the final, three-year war against the LTTE, Army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka said at a function in the Army Headquarters here, The Island said. Fonseka estimated the number of army wounded at 27,000. “The victory against the LTTE was achieved at a tremendous cost,” the paper quoted the General as saying.

However, the sacrifice was worth it from many points of view, not the least from a military science point of view, Fonseka said at a meeting with troops in the Vellamullivaikkal frontline on Friday.

NO LET UP IN ARMY DEPLOYMENT: The Island quoted army sources saying that adequate troops would be deployed in the Tamil-speaking North, especially the vast areas recently captured from the LTTE. Some units would be on active duty, while others would be in reserve.

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