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Parliament

Sandasen Marasinghe, Camelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawaarachchi
Sandasen Marasinghe, Camelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawaarachchi

Ulterior motive behind Adjournment Motion – Minister Pavithra

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that although yesterday’s Adjournment Motion was brought by the Opposition, there is an ulterior motive behind it, which is detrimental to the country.

Minister Wanniarachchi said that the real motive of the Opposition is hidden in the midst of the Adjournment Motion. She said that what the Opposition is really aiming at is to destabilise the Government’s efforts to stop the import of chemical fertilizer and shift to organic fertilizers.

“Today the Opposition is shedding crocodile tears. According to our records, the number of reported cancer patients in the country is over 30,000 annually. Further, 46 people die daily of cancer. Each month, over 500 people die of kidney disease - around 6,000 fatalities per year. In addition, around 164,000 kidney patients are reported every year. Repeatedly experts have warned that the reason for such health issues is the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides. During the previous good governance regime, a special unit was formed at the Presidential Secretariat at a huge cost to promote food without poisonous chemicals. This was headed by Ven. Rathana Thera. However, he eventually walked out stating that as long as there were Cabinet Ministers supportive of Sajith Premadasa, this effort would not succeed. It is the same people who, while being in the previous government, blocked the promotion of food production without poisonous substances. They are once again opposing it from the Opposition,” the Minister said.

The Minister said that they start off by talking about the COVID crisis in a very concerned manner. “However, they are the very ones who are trying to block this effort by the Government to support the multinational companies that are promoting chemical fertilizer. They have already become their agents,” the Minister said.

Minister Wanniarachchi said that a country’s political victory or defeat is not determined by how they manage the COVID pandemic as even a country managing the COVID pandemic could experience a change in a matter of a mere week.

The Minister said it is the Opposition’s short-sighted and childish behaviour that led to their defeat.

 


National Security, Health Sector Services crippled - SJB MP Madduma Bandara

The national security of the country and the health sector services to the people have been crippled due to the mismanagement of the Government, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Ranjith Madduma Bandara said in Parliament yesterday.

He was moving an Adjournment Motion suggesting the security of the country should be strengthened and the relief to the public under this pandemic situation should be provided amply.

MP Madduma Bandara said that the Government is allowing the COVID 19 pandemic to spread in the country. He added that the country has failed to import the vaccines for COVID 19 although it has been almost eight months since the WHO approved them. He added that even the available vaccines are not provided systematically.

The MP said that the issues are daily arising with regard to the travel restrictions. In the meantime, there is discrimination in providing Rs. 5,000 relief to the affected families. The distribution of essential commodities is also not properly done. He said that in the meantime, the ban on import of chemical fertilizer will lead to serious repercussions including a food crisis.

 


Budget deficit is over 11 per cent – SJB MP Eran

When the country was handed over to the Government, the Budget deficit was 5.5 per cent of the GDP, but now the Government claims it is 11 per cent. “But it is way over 11 per cent. The reason is that they have added 423 billion from 2020 onto 2019. They show false numbers by these lies. What they have done is a gimmick with numbers. I don’t know why the Government is lying,” Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Eran Wickramaratne said in Parliament yesterday.

He said that the debt of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has increased from 297,000 million in 2019 to 385,500 million in 2020. “How did this happen? In 2020, the use of vehicles reduced. Then how could the CPC debt increase? Even the price of fuel had decreased from 2019 to 2020 by around $ 20. In 2019, a barrel of crude oil was $ 64 and it decreased to $43 in 2020. Then how did the debt increase? There is an issue in management. Despite the fuel prices decreasing in the world market, the Government did not reduce fuel prices. Yet, the debt has increased,” he said.

“The CEB debt has increased three folds. So, now what the Government does is they have brought an amendment to the Fiscal Management Responsibility Act to increase the loan guarantee limit from 10 per cent to 15 per cent. Then that too will show as a State loan. But the fact is that eventually the Finance Ministry would have to pay it,” the MP said.

He said that because of the Government’s poor management of the economy, people are finding it hard to live and it is only a matter of time before the public starts protesting. He, therefore, urged the Government to accept their mistakes and work towards rectifying them.

 


Former subject Minister could not prevent Easter Sunday Attacks - Minister Rohitha

It was humorous that former Minister Madduma Bandara, within whose ambit the Police was under Good Governance Government, speaking of the national security today, because he could not prevent the Easter Sunday attacks amidst the intelligence reports from Sri Lanka and foreign countries, Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said.

He said that although intelligence units in the country and the foreign intelligence units including India had warned of the Easter Sunday attacks beforehand, the weapons were found from Kaththankudi, then Minister Madduma Bandara failed to contact the intelligence, CID and other relevant authorities and prevent the attacks. "But he is talking of the security of the country which is ridiculous," Minister Abeygunawardena said.

He was responding to Ranjith Madduma Bandara who moved the adjournment motion in Parliament yesterday.

The Minister said that Ranjith Bandara was a close associate of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Minister Abeygunawardena said that Ranjith Badduma Bandara could address all those issues while they were in the former Good Governance Government. As they failed, they were forced to sit in the Opposition by the people.

He said that the Government has addressed the COVID 19 pandemic successfully. He said that the people are saying that if the Good Governance Government was in power, 25 percent of the people would be dead by now as their former President and Prime Minister could not work together.

He said that the Government has plans to bring in 32 million vaccines. COVID has affected the entire world. The Opposition is speaking as if COVID is only in Sri Lanka. The Government is providing Rs. 5,000 and goods worth Rs. 5,000 to each family who are on quarantine, the Minister said.

“MP Madduma Bandara said that they provided relief to people who were affected in the natural disasters," Minister Abeygunawardena said. "But did they provide relief to those affected in the Salawa armoury blast, Easter Sunday attacks, Meethotamulla garbage dumb issue and those affected in the Samasarakanda landslide," the Minister asked.

He said that there are many challenges before the Government but those will be addressed under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He added that the Government has made a firm decision on the use of chemical fertiliser. He said that a massive amount of money flows out of the country and causes kidney diseases with the use of chemical fertiliser. The Janatha Vikumthi Peramuna (JVP), too, speaks for chemical fertilizer, which they did not do earlier. He said that it is a matter that deals with a massive amount of money.

 


Public Security Minister denies allegations

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekara denied allegations that he had permitted the bus carrying a certain group of prominent members of the cinema field to turn back while on its way to a quarantine centre.

Dr. Weerasekara said in Parliament yesterday that a prominent beautician and a group were arrested by the police on charges of flouting quarantine regulations and subsequent to being produced in Court, they were released on bail. While they were later being taken by a police bus to Passara for quarantine, and a lawyer representing the group called me and notified me that they had only the clothes they were wearing and that it was unjust to take them to a quarantine centre for 14 days without even their basic clothing and personal requirements. Another two persons travelling in the bus, too, called me and said the same. When I contacted the SI who was accompanying them in the bus, he, too, confirmed their stories. Thereafter, I ordered the bus to stop for a brief period and gave instructions to the IGP and the DIG regarding this matter. Thereafter, the IGP had ordered the bus to be taken to the Thalangama Police and had instructed the relatives of those being taken for quarantine to bring their personal belongings to the Thalangama Police and hand it over. Until such time, they remained on the bus. That is all that happened and at no point did I ever instruct the bus to be turned back,” the Minister said.