Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader Mano Ganesan called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to implement the Disaster Management Act that was passed during his presidency in 2005.
Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday (18 Aug) he urged the Prime Minister to take an active role in ensuring that this Act, which allows for the inclusion of the Opposition to actively engage in urgent situations.
“There is a mechanism entailed in this Act allows for the government and opposition to jointly engage in dealing with disaster situations. This is an Act that was brought by Mahinda Rajapaksa, but he is silent.
“We call upon the Prime Minister to awake from his slumber and play a more active role.”
He noted that this Disaster Management Act establishes the National Council for Disaster Management (NCDM), chaired by the President with Prime Minister, 15 Ministers Chief Ministers of the Provinces and five Opposition MPs.
This high-level oversight body, provides direction to Disaster Risk Management (DRM) work in the country.The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) was established to implement the functions indicated in the Act. Ganesan also noted that Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella had already nominated the five members from the Opposition, and his name too is on the list of nominees.
“But, this committee has still not convened.This is a clear indication that the government has no desire to engage the Opposition in this situation. The government’s delay in implementing safeguards has resulted in the loss of many lives. Now the decision is being taken by traders individually to implement a self-lockdown as the government has failed to do it so far. Ironically, again instead of realising their failures, the government is blaming the Opposition and claiming that this is a conspiracy by them.”
He noted that during the past seven days the death rate had increased by 60% and three more delta variants had been discovered. While appreciating the accelerated vaccination drive, however, Ganesan said that the vaccination process should have commenced in January. He also thanked the health sector and the tri forces for their untiring dedication to serve the people during this pandemic.
While stating that the majority of deaths are of those above the age of 60, Ganesan demanded that the government take responsibility for these deaths claiming that this is a criminal act.
He claimed that the Opposition is willing to render their assistance to deal with the current predicament, but the government’s arrogance has resulted in the unfortunate deaths of many citizens.
He said that although the people of this country and business community understands the need to lock down the country, the government is still holding onto its adamant stance, forcing the people to take decisions for themselves.