The present Ranil – Maithri administration sells resources of the country for their existence said the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka and invited the masses to struggle against government’s policy of selling.
He said this at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP today (15th). The Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP K.D. Lal Kantha and the Central Committee Member Wasantha Samarasinghe were also present.
“The economic strategy of this government is selling and liquidating valuable resources of the country and state institutions. The rulers in the country had also built a notion earlier that the country could be developed by selling resources. In 1988 then government that began selling state institutions stating such a policy could develop the economy was confronted by a massive opposition from the people. Next selling was carried out on the pretext of ‘nationalization’. Full page advertisements were published stating ‘You too have a share’. However, nationalization did not create a good situation for the economy. Today, the present government has come up with a new concept. ‘Public–private partnership (PPP)’. This is how they are going to sell state assets to companies. It is the same poisonous toffee offered to the masses in different wrappers.
The main item of government’s auction list is Hamabanthota Harbour. According to the geographical situation Hambanthota Harbour could be developed. The first cabinet paper to build a harbour at Hambanthota was presented during Chandrika Kumaratunga’s time. We too were in the cabinet then. The first proposal was to build a harbour for bunkering and food and water services. However, Rajapaksa regime made it a harbour for redistribution and exchange of goods. Now two main arguments have been brought up to sell Hambanthota Harbour. One is no ships are coming to the harbour. The other is the debt burden. Whatever ship enters a harbour it doesn’t look for the ownership of the harbour. As such, selling the harbour is not a solution for ships not coming to the harbour. However, the government could keep the harbour under its ownership and develop it as a bunkering and supplying services earning a big profit. Without considering it the government is keen on selling the harbour.
Now what does the government proposes to do with US$1200 million it gets if it sells the harbour to the Chinese company? The government has proposed to build a rail line from Kurunegala to Habarana spending US$970 million. This would not release the government from the debt burden. The other serious matter is that the harbour is handed over for 99 years. This means Hambanthota Harbour would be owned by the Chinese company until 2115. By 2115 none of us the Chinaman, Ranil or me would be there to talk about this. You too wouldn’t be there. This means there is no taking back. The handing over is carried out with 20% for the government and 80% for the company. For 15 years the government would not get any profits. Also, the company would not pay any taxes to the government. What the Ranil – Maithri administration is doing is to sell people’s assets for their existence.
Also, 15,000 acres of land adjacent to the harbour is to be given to a Chinese company. There are 17 economic zones in our country. Katunayaka economic zone is 192 acres. Koggala is 195 acres. All 17 economic zones have fewer than 2000 acres. The land area of Sri City, the biggest economic zone in India, a large country, is about 7000 acres. Then why a land mass of 15000 acres belonging to the people of our country is given to a Chinese company? These lands have been fertilized with bones of our ancestors. They have been made fertile by the sweat and blood of our people. Do we allow such lands to be handed over to a foreign company? A land equivalent to 1/10th of Colombo is to be given to a private company when large extents of lands are already available in Koggala, Katunayaka and Biyagama industrial zones.
There are 14 islets near Kalpitiya. Mahinda Rajapaksa regime attempted to sell the islands but they were able to sell only two islets. However, the present government, hiding behind tourist promotions, is attempting to sell the other islets. The islets that are owned by Divisional Secretariats have been taken over by the Tourist Board. The rulers have dragged the country to the low level of selling the islets belonging to the country.
The government is taken steps to sell Colombo Harbour which is placed 26th of all the harbours in the world. It occupies a higher place than large harbours in India. The East terminal of Colombo Harbour owned by the government was modernized so that it has a depth of 18 meters. Now, biggest ships in the world could enter the East Terminal. When the government could get a large profit by installing the necessary cranes – 12 in number – it is to be given to private companies. Bids have been called to give it for 35 years with 15% to the government and 85% to the private company.
The most precious mineral sands deposit is the one at Pulmoddai. This deposit contains heavy mineral contents of between 70% to 80%.This reserve has the heaviest minerals. It contains Rutile, zircon, ilmanite as well as very expensive minerals such as garnet. At school we have learned that the best mineral deposit is at Pulmoddai. This government has appointed a competent authority instead of a chairman and is taking steps to liquidate it. Also, Kahatagaha Graphite Mines, one of the important plumbago mines in the world is to be sold by the government. The government has auctioned Kahatagaha Graphite Mines which produces very good plumbago.
We do not need governments to sell mineral sands deposits, harbours, graphite mines. They are like public auctioneers. This is what happens when prodigal sons are born to ancient walawwas. The coconut estates, lands and other assets are sold. Even the furniture in the walawwa is sold by these prodigal sons to get intoxicated. This government is like a prodigal son in a walawwa. Ranil – Maithri government has become a wasteful son who sells everything around him. We call upon the people in this country to join us to defeat the wasteful and destructive economic policy of selling resources and assets belonging to the people and drive away the destructive Ranil – Maithri administration.
At the moment people have commenced a massive struggle at Hambanthota against selling lands belonging to them. On 20th and 21st Comrade Lal kantha hopes to discuss the land issue with people at Hambanthota. Also, the struggle against the move by the government to sell Hambanthota Harbour would be continued. Comrade Wasantha Samarasinghe would mediate in carrying out a struggle against the attempt to sell Kahatagaha Mines and Pulmoddai deposits.
We tell the government to enjoy the cold in this December in Hong Kong and Dubai. We’ll heat up the country in January with agitations. These resources and assets do not belong only to us. We have to protect them for the future generations. Hence, we would rally all people’s forces and create the largest and broadest center of struggle to launch a massive struggle.
Responding to questions posed by journalists Mr. Dissanayaka said, “Ulapane priest convened a press conference, flew into a rage and provocatively made a statement regarding a land given to him. He is a priest of ‘Dhushana Virodhi Peramuna’. This priest looks only for corruption by the government. The government donates a land to this priest. According to him this government is not corrupt. It looks like a virtuous government. I have no issue with this priest. The land at Narahenpita belongs to the Milk Board from the day it was established 60 years ago. The water to the factory was obtained from a well on this land. However, the government closed the well and donated the valuable land to the priest by deed. People should understand why the government donates a land to this priest.
This government is very swift when selling state institutions. Agreements are signed in no time. However, we warn the companies that buy these assets. There is a big opposition from the people against selling of these institutions and resources. As such, the companies must realize that spending money and signing agreements would not allow them to own those resources and institutions.
We have explained about deals on several occasions. If we have a deal with the government we should get something from the government. We should give the government something. We challenge anyone coming out with this story about deals to prove that we have got something from the government. However, we could tell what those who complain about us have got from the government. Having two passports by one person is a serious offence. There are many in Negombo prison who have been found guilty of this offence. How is Wimal Weerawansa not charged or not in prison? Udaya Gammanpila himself said he talked to Ranil about the matter and Ranil had said Wimal is reliable he could stay without going in.
Also, making false information in the voter registration form is a serious offence. This is mentioned in the back page. However, Wimal Weerawansa entered false information regarding him and his wife on the form. He was not punished. When Mahinda went to Uganda he talked to Mangala Samaraweera and asked for two tickets. We have the letter written by Mahinda Rajapaksa’s coordinator Uditha Lokubandara to Mangala Samaraweera. They are the deals.
When Shiranthi was asked to give a statement regarding ‘Siriliya accounts Ranil Wickremesinghe sent FCID officers to Shiranthi on a request by Mahinda Rajapaksa. Further, in the cabinet of Ranil Wickremesinghe a decision has been taken not to take legal action against Shiranthi.
After spending a large amount of money to renovate Kadirgamar’s residence to be given to Mahinda Rajapaksa, another supplementary estimate of Rs.19 million was approved to build another building near the residence. When Mahinda Rajapaksa goes to China the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests for all diplomatic facilities for him.
Minister Sagala Ratnayaka in a telephone conversation heard by the public tells the IGP not to arrest the Nilame of Devundra Temple who was the Chairman of Mineral Sands Corporation during the previous regime. This Nilame is a very close associate of Namal Rajapakasa. As such, it is very clear that deals are taking place among them. We ask the people to judge us from our practice.