Written by Keshala Dias
31 Jan, 2017 | 9:13 pm
“How can the government appoint officials to the Southern Development Authority and carry out operations, when the authority has been repealed?”.
This question was raised by journalists at a briefing presided over by Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, S. B. Dissanayake
Meanwhile, a conversation took place between a News 1st journalist and MP S. B. Dissanayake.
Journalist : “..Minister, is the Divineguma Development Act still in effect?..”.
Minister S. B. Dissanayake : “..The Divineguma Department was created by the merger of the Samurdhi Authority, Upcountry Development Authority and the Southern Development Authority. Thereby, the Upcountry Development Authority and the Southern Development Authority were dissolved. However, when this government was established a new Development Ministry for the North Western Province was created. A separate Ministry was also created for the South. Therefore, without those two institutions in place, we are carrying our two separate projects for the North-West and South..”.
Journalist : “..Does it mean that the Upcountry Development Authority and the Southern Development Authority are in active status?..”.
Minister S. B. Dissanayake : “..No. Not at all..”.
Journalist : “..And what about the appointments to positions?..”.
Minister S. B. Dissanayake : “..There is nothing like that. Everyone is with us..”.
Journalist : “..In the recent past, the agreement for the Hambantota Port was signed. The draft was created. So, when it was presented to the Committee on Economic Development, an individual by the name of Shirantha Herath signed the document in the capacity of Chairman of the Southern Development Authority. How did that happen?..”.
Minister S. B. Dissanayake : “..That cannot be..”.
Journalist : “..This is the signed document, Minister..” (The News 1st journalist shows the document to the MP).
MP S. B. Dissanayake : “..It is a mistake. There cannot be a Southern Development Authority. It has been dissolved..”.
Journalist : “..So how was this signed? You are a Cabinet Minister. The SLFP is a part of the government..”.
MP S. B. Dissanayake : “..I saw that this was challenged in Court. I think it is wrong and will be rectified through a judicial process. It has been discussed within the government as well. It will be rectified. There is no such person in that capacity..”.
Journalist : “..As the SLFP, weren’t you aware until this was signed?..”.
MP S. B. Dissanayake “..We did not know of that and we do not know of that. We will get to know about that when we go to Courts. There is no such authority called the Southern Development Authority or the Upcountry Development Authority..”.
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