Written by Keshala Dias
21 Mar, 2017 | 9:56 pm
A stop to alcohol was one of the key promises made by the Government of Good Governance.
However, who owns the alcohol distillery that is proposed for construction in Kalkudah, Batticaloa?
The question is – who approved it?
The Sunday Times reported recently that Arjun Aloysius’ liquor producing firm W. M. Mendis and Co. has proposed to construct a distillery at Kalkudah in the Batticaloa District.
The official website of W. M. Mendis and Co. shows that the Chairman of the Organisation is Arjun Joseph Aloysius, who is the son-in-law of former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Arjuna Mahendran, who is at the centre of the treasury bond controversy.
Allegations were levelled that through the treasury bond scam, the country’s Employee Provident Fund suffered a loss of Rs. 15 billion.
Incidentally, the loss the country suffered as a whole as a result of the bond scam is monumental – exceeding over Rs. 200 billion.
Arjuna Mahendran who is accused of causing such a monumental loss to the country was awarded an advisory position at the Ministry of Finance.
In such a backdrop, how was government permission granted for a new alcohol distillery?
Meanwhile, a conversation took place between a News1st journalist and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Youth Front Shantha Bandara:
Shantha Bandara: “If you look at the issues of the people in the north, their economy has suffered a massive blow. Several sections of the Ministry of Finance must be held responsible for this. I am speaking of the industries and the alcohol industry. If this distillery is allowed to operate it will have an impact on the palmyrah alcohol”
Journalist: “Isn’t the President aware of this situation?”
Shantha Bandara: “The President is aware of that. We have informed him about that. He said he will take action. Based on the information that we have, some have been given concessions on the sly. That must also be investigated”.
Journalist: “If permits have been given for liquor storesm without proper approval, can’t you do anything about that?”
Shantha Bandara: “No. Cabinet has taken a decision that no new permits will be issued for liquor stores”.
Journalist: “The ownership of the distillery in Kalkudah is being spoken of. Perpetual Treasuries is a company that is directly involved in the treasury bond controversy. If the situation is such, how will this investment affect the country? What is your opinion?”
Shantha Bandara: “We are against that. We do not condone it. How can they be given tax concessions? Is this their property? This is the property that needs to be distributed among the people. Why are companies that have played around with tax money, given tax concessions. What is this privatisation? It is wrong for them to play games with the country’s economy”
Recently, reports surfaced that Perpetual Treasuries Private Limited has used its funds as investments to launch media companies and that other electronic and print media are in fear of them.
The media has always stood for the people of this country. The media will face these challenges fearlessly, and will continue to engage in reporting to ensure that justice is served to the people.
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