Premadasa alleges Oct 26 move influenced by personal interests

.. had succeeded country would have been subjected to ‘state terror’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa has alleged that the sacking of an elected government on Oct. 26 was influenced by personal interests and well being of their families, friends and associates.

President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe with former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa. Lawmakers, representing the UPFA, received ministerial portfolios in the Sirisena-Rajapaksa administration.

Minister Premadasa said that contrary to claims those responsible for illegal takeover didn’t care about the public.

Premadasa said so after vesting in people newly built Palamudeercholai village in the Batticaloa district.

Premadasa described the Oct. 26 takeover as an attempt to destroy the country by those who received prime ministerial and ministerial portfolios at the expense of the UNP led United National Front (UNF). The minister said that the attempt was made in spite of not having required majority in parliament. Had they succeeded, the country would have been again subjected to state terrorism.

President Sirisena dissolved parliament on Nov 09, 2018 and set parliamentary polls for January 05, 2019 in the wake their failure to prove simple majority in parliament.

Premadasa decried UPFA accusations, in the wake of the grouping being compelled to give up 51-day-old administration due to an unfavourable court ruling, that the UNP entered into secret agreements and was conducting affairs of state in a way inimical to the national interest. Premadasa’s reference was to UPFA allegations as regards UNP-TNA secret understanding.

The UNP Deputy Leader dismissed accusations that yahapalana administration implemented agreements which undermined the country.

The UNPer declared that the government had an open understanding with the people to develop the country. Premadasa dealt with their priorities with the focus on alienation of state lands to the needy and implementation of an accelerated countrywide housing project for the benefit of those lacking a place of their own, in addition to Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka meant to strengthen agricultural, fisheries, public sectors as well as the middle class.

The UNP launched Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka close on the heels of heavy drubbing the UNP and the SLFP received at the last Local Government polls in Feb 2018. The UNP-led National Unity Front (UNF) government comprised the UNP and the SLFP.

The SLFP quit the government on Oct 26, 2018.

President Sirisena turned down an offer by the UNP to re-join the government on Dec 15, 2018 after Mahinda Rajapaksa quit the premiership, having failed to convince the Supreme Court to lift the prohibition imposed by the Court of Appeal on the cabinet.

Premadasa alleged that central to the UPFA’s strategy was to secure lawmakers support by way of bribes and various perks, privileges and cushy appointments.

Declaring that his father sacrificed his life for the country, Minister Sajith Premadasa reiterated his commitment for the improvement of the living standards of the people.

Commenting on the status of the government led housing project, Premadasa asserted that by end of this year 2,500 could be built. Claiming that at the moment 1,577 model villages were being built and the construction of remaining 923 units were to begin during this year. Acknowledging that achieving 2019 objectives wouldn’t be easy, Premadasa said that he was confident of fulfilling his obligations to the people.

The Minister discussed the housing project undertaken in the Batticaloa district. He slammed the UPFA after vesting Palamudeercholai village, the 09th model village built in the Batticaloa District since the change of government in January 2015.

Altogether, 148 model villages had been built since then under an accelerated programme implemented under the direct supervision of Minister Premadasa. The newly built model village is situated at Koralepattu Kumburumulai. Premadasa quoted the senior official in charge of the Batticaloa district project as having said that 200 villages could be built by September this year. Premadasa said that he instructed the manager to build an additional 50 villages to make it 250 model villages in the Eastern Province.

Premadasa said that the government hoped to construct 20,000 model villages by 2025. "We’ll build 2,500 in the first phase, 5,000, 10,000 and again 2,500 in the second, third and fourth phases, respectively."

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