Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Premadasa blamed the Government for the peoples’ suffering due to the increase in fuel and gas prices and the escalating cost of living.
“The price of fuel was increased yesterday. How can retirees and public servants bear this burden? The increases in prices of goods are to set off the allowance given to the teachers and principals. Farmers have been compelled to get onto the streets in protest due to the nonavailability of fertilizer and pesticides. Farmers’ who live with dignity and pride are today suffering from poverty.
“Where is the promised mastermind of the Government who promised the reduction of prices of goods prior to the election?” he questioned.
Premadasa noted that today it is a familiar sight to see people queuing up to purchase goods. “Today we see sugar queues, rice and gas queues.
“The 1970-77 era is being repeated. I ask the Government if they obtained the votes of 6.9 million voters to bring back the 70-77 era and push the entire population into poverty. Today there is no ‘Viyath’ development but only ‘Vipath’ (disastrous) development. This Government is proving day-by-day that they are incapable of working and all they are capable of is increasing prices.”
He also said that the Government has taken a neutral approach in resolving the salary issues of 1.4 million state sector employees and pension anomalies of 650,000 retired state sector workers.
Therefore, the Opposition Leader called on the Government to stop deceiving the public and work towards raising the standards of living.
However, in response, Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that while the Good Governance regime granted the ‘Agrahara’ pension scheme to pensioners who had served in their government only another 300,000 were deprived of their pension. “However, our Government rectified that matter and granted pensions to all eligible retirees. But, you failed to mention that part.”Minister Gunawardena also riled the Opposition Leader for muddling up several issues and expecting answers to all these issues from one minister.
He also noted that the current Government is committed to uplift the country’s agriculture sector, adding that the Opposition Leader is shamelessly finding fault with the Government whereas during the former government’s tenure they had done nothing for the betterment of the agriculture sector.