Written by Bella Dalima
27 Nov, 2014 | 8:41 pm
Lanka Sathosa stores commenced selling various types of rice at prices ranging from Rs. 50 to 60 per kilogramme on Thursday.
Minister Johnston Fernando states that this step was taken to ensure that the price of rice is not increased along with the onset of the upcoming presidential elections.
The government imposed a price ceiling for rice on April 9 this year, when prices sky-rocketed close to the Sinhala Tamil New Year.
A ceiling of Rs.77 was imposed per kilogramme of Samba while the ceiling for Nadu and Kekulu rice was Rs.68 and 66 per kilogramme respectively.
However, during the past seven months a kilogramme of rice was sold at between Rs.80-100 in the open market. The subject Ministers had stated on several occasions that steps would be taken to resolve the issue.
Deputy Minister of Co-operatives and Internal Trade, Hemal Gunasekara said;
[quote]Some say that a kilogramme of rice is sold at 80 rupees some others say that a kilogramme is sold at 70 rupees. There is a shortage in Kekulu rice. We accept it. I state with responsibility that this issue will be resolved in two weeks.[/quote]
Minister of Co-operatives & Internal Trade, Johnston Fernando expressed these views in Borella on September 10, 2014.
[quote]Today there has been a significant rise in the price of rice. We accept it. We intend to distribute rice through Sathosa lorries in every town within ten days. We will control the price. We will not evade this problem. We will save the farmers as well as the consumer.[/quote]
It was evident that commencing from September 12, rice was distributed through mobile centres in several towns including Colombo and its suburbs.
However, although these mobile services were established there was no significant drop in the price of rice in the market, hence the mobile service too did not show signs of continuity.
Speaking in Nikaweratiya, Minister of Co-operatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando said that rumours have emerged that certain factions will attempt to influence the presidential election by increasing rice prices.
Minister of Co-operatives and Internal Trade, Johnston Fernando said;
[quote]We have received information that a certain rice mill owner in Polonnaruwa is attempting to increase the price of rice and create a dearth in the market. Therefore, under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa we have taken a strong decision to not increase the prices of rice and sell a kilogramme of imported Kekulu rice between Rs.50 and 55 and a kilogram of Ponni Samba at Rs.60. I will not allow any increase in the price of rice.[/quote]
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