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President wants to get rid of middlemen for the benefit of both producer and consumer

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has stressed the need to put in place a mechanism to help both the producer and the consumer by ensuring that commodities are reasonably priced.

The President pointed out that the objective could be realised by creating conditions for farmers to sell their produce without the involvement of middlemen.

He said so during a discussion with the Committee on Cost of Living at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday.

The President and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa focused on strengthening measures to ensure the uninterrupted distribution of essential consumer goods across the country without suffering a shortage.

President Rajapaksa, taking both current living conditions and difficulties associated with COVID-19 pandemic into account, removed the import duties imposed on several essential goods such as dhal, canned fish, onions and sugar on Tuesday (October 13).

The President also instructed officials to take steps to turn uncultivated lands into coconut cultivations. The government has commenced a campaign to plant coconut saplings on 50,000 acres.

Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival, Basil Rajapaksa noted that a proper strategy was being implemented to produce vegetables, fruits and eggs to meet the consumer demand within the area itself.

The Ministry of Health has studied the daily consumer demand of a household. “We have devised plans to grow vegetables, fruits in home gardens of low income families and fulfill the demand for eggs through domestic poultry farms as a measure to uplift their lives.” Basil Rajapaksa added.

The officials present at the discussion said paddy harvest of the Yala and Maha seasons this year had been favourable compared to the last year. President Rajapaksa highlighted the need for introducing new methods to purchase paddy harvest in the future.

It was also stated during the discussion that a special programme had been planned to transport fruits, vegetables and fertiliser via trains with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Railways.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ministers Bandula Gunawardane, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Douglas Devananda, State Ministers Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Arundika Fernando, Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretaries of the Cabinet and State Ministries and the members of the Committee of the Cost of Living were also present at the discussion.

 

 



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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