'Naifaru residents did not request for an ice plant'

Fisheries Minister Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan has said the residents of Lh. Naifaru did not request for an ice plant to be established on the island.

The minister was summoned to the Parliament on Monday, where Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam requested for an update on establishing an ice plant in Naifaru. Shiyam said President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had pledged to establish an ice plant in Naifaru while visiting the island during the 2018 presidential election campaign.

Answering the inquiries, Minister Hussain Rasheed said the fishermen of Naifaru had not requested the President for an ice plant during the pre-election visit to the island. The recordings from the trip does not indicate that any such request was made, said the minister. However, the fishermen of Naifaru had requested to facilitate easy availability of ice from Felivaru, the construction of a slipway, establishment of an engine repair center and prohibiting catching live bait in Lh. atoll by diving, and prohibiting fishing using bouys and nets. The minister said 75 tonnes of ice is provided from Felivaru even now, and fishing using bouys and nets is already prohibited by law.

Responding to the minister, MP Shiyam said the ice produced at Felivaru is not adequate and that Naifaru alone has 24 fishing vessels which require ice. He again reiterated that the president had pledged to establish an ice plant in Naifaru. Since the pledge was not made at a podium, it is possible that recordings that prove the pledge was made may not be available, said Shiyam. The minister, in response, said he would share the recordings with the Parliament Secretariat.