Apr 15, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will receive Rs. 45 billion if it submits an action plan before April 18 to the World Body of Relief Assistance. The plan should describe three key areas of work including a common mechanism to distribute relief to tsunami-affected families.
Kalutara district UNP MP Dr. Rajitha Senarathne, addressing a media conference at the office of the Opposition Leader in Colombo, said a common mechanism to distribute relief to tsunami-affected families of the North and East, recommencement of peace talks and the country’s economic program are the key areas to be included in the report to the World Body of Relief Assistance.
“If the government fails to submit this report, we will not get the relief we expect from the world. But if the government were to submit it, there is every possibility that the JVP will move out of the government,” he said.
Commenting on the newspaper advertisement on the prices of various items, published as part of the one-year progress report on the “Rata Perata” program, Dr. Senarathne said all prices mentioned in that advertisement were wrong, deceiving and misleading to the public. “The fact is that price of almost all essential goods have gone up,” he said.
He argued that the UNF government increased the salary of state workers by Rs. 1250. The UPFA government has increased it by Rs. 2500. However, the UPFA promise to increase the salary of state workers by 70 percent has not been carried out so far. Although the UPFA marked their first year in office, the government has not made university graduates permanent in their jobs either, Dr. Senarathne said.
“There was a charge that the media were threatened by ‘Lawrence Mafia’ during the Premadasa regime. But look at today: government ministers keep on attacking the media in public. There was some systematic way of dealing in the Lawrence Mafia. But there is of that sort with the present day ministers who keep on battering the media left and right. The system is in such low ebb, there is no system to record a statement before one is arrested. Both principals of Ananda and Kingswood have been sieged by the thug mafia in operation right now,” Dr. Senarathne charged.
Colombo district UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake meanwhile said the JVP had boasted that once the UPFA came to power, they would “unplug” the commitment to the World Bank, which would bring prices down. “They were critical of the price hike during the UNP regime, but today keep shut their loose tongues,” he said.
“The JVP, which boasted about their ability to fight for the rights of the poor masses, do not raise a finger at the Cabinet, the place where they really should talk. But keep their loose tongues under control and talk like heroes when they come into political platforms. The people have seen their real colours and they will not be fooled by their lousy talks,” he charged.
“President Ranasinghe Premadasa took the garment industry to the country and provided employment. But today these garment factories are gradually being closed down, depriving employment opportunities to hundreds of thousands of youth of this country,” he added. "