|Thursday, 23 September 2004|
Rice at a reasonable price, assures Jeyaraj
by Chandrani Marasinghe, Duminda Guruge and Sithara Senani
Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday assures that the Government will import rice to check the soaring rise of prices and make rice available to the consumer at a reasonable price.
Nevertheless the private sector will not be allowed to import rice, nor would they be allowed to make a profit of even a single rupee out of this measure, he said.
Fernandopulle made this assurance addressing the forum of Deputy Ministers and MPs who met at the Parliamentary Complex yesterday to discuss issues affecting the day to day life of the people to refer such issues for ministerial attention.
He said a variety of rice will be imported to suite the consumer's purse and a kilo of Sudu Kekelu or Naadu would have the selling price of Rs. 25 while superior varieties will range from Rs. 35 to Rs. 45 per kilo.
Imported rice will be marketed within Colombo district through 400 co-operative outlets under 11 co-operative societies by deploying 20 lorries, he said.
"This measure will not adversely affect the local farmer as the purchasing price of a kilo of paddy will not come down below Rs. 15," Fernandopulle said.
He said the flour price will not be increased and Prima Authority had assured not to increase the price of flour. Fernandopulle said he did not rule out the possibility of a scarcity of flour due to the transport difficulties following the hartal in Trincomalie.
Power and Energy Deputy Minister Mahindananda Alutgamage said the Forum will not hesitate to take action against anybody, whether in the ruling party or in the opposition who resort to fraud and corruption.
Investigations are under way against five MPs and transactions of several Ministries are under investigation and action will be pursued after making the President aware of instances of fraud and corruption, he said.
Ports Development and Civil Aviation Deputy Minister Dilan Perera said due to the inefficacy of the "shiran" committee, reconstruction of the North and East are lagging and the LTTE's insistence on an Interim Administration is a sequel to this drawback.
Produced by Lake House