The residence and the office of Minister P. Harrison would be surrounded if issuing paddy from government stores is not temporarily stopped and immediate and intensive action regarding serious frauds and irregularities are not taken says the National Organizer of All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Namal Karunaratna.
At a press conference held at Dambulla today (30th) and participated by the representatives of small and medium scale rice mill owners and All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Mr. Karunaratna said the revelations made by his Federation and small and medium scale rice mill owners that frauds and irregularities are committed in the process of issuing paddy stocks from government stores to control the increasing rice prices are being confirmed now and the government should take immediate steps to prevent such malpractices. He said if the government fails to take any action they are preparing to take legal action.
Mr. Karunaratna said when they met the Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board he did not admit frauds and irregularities were committed and despite saying paddy stocks are sold in a transparent manner with the mediation of a tender board of representatives of the subject minister, statements made by certain groups in the government and also by the brother of the President have confirmed that frauds and irregularities are committed in the process of issuing paddy. Mr. Karunaratna said the Chairman of Paddy Marketing Board who refused to admit there were malpractices should resign from his post.
He pointed out that the stocks in government stores are adequate until next August and added that certain politicians of the government and corrupt officials buy paddy from farmers at low prices and earn commissions to allow large scale rice mill owners to exploit the consumer making the whole process a racket.