Kalkudah Alcohol distillery: Bottled up anger bursts forth over mystery ‘approval’

Kalkudah Alcohol distillery: Bottled up anger bursts forth over mystery ‘approval’

Written by Keshala Dias

23 Mar, 2017 | 9:56 pm

Who granted permission for the proposed alcohol distillery in Kalkudah along with tax concessions?

News1st asked several parties for their views.

Our research revealed that the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka has not approved this project.

Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama was in Jaffna today, March 23, and we asked him as to how permission was granted for the proposed alcohol distillery in Kalkudah.

MP Malik Samarawickrama: [quote]”The land in which the distillery is being built is located in the jurisdiction of the Eastern Provincial Council, therefore did the Provincial Council grant permission for this project?”[/quote]

Nazeer Ahamed (Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council): [quote]”This cannot be approved. Use of alcohol in the Province has also increased. Following the end of the war, alcohol consumption in the Batticaloa District has increased by three-fold. We will not allow this and we have not been informed of this. They have not obtained permission from us and this is being done in secret. There are other important projects proposed by the council for these areas. So why was this project given priority?”[/quote]

If the Minister is not aware of this matter, it has not been submitted to cabinet for approval.

If the Chief Minister is not aware, Provincial Council approval has not been obtained for this matter.

Political parties are amazed about approval given for this alcohol distillery at a time when no one is aware as to how approval was granted.

Professor G. L. Peiris (Chairman of the Podujana Peramuna): [quote]”Rogues like Arjun Aloysius are given more opportunities to earn and this time it is through a distillery. What happens to President Sirisena’s programme against alcohol”.[/quote]

Azad Sally (Leader of the National Unity Front): [quote]”We will never approve the construction of a distillery. I was infact amazed. Is the Chief Minister of the East asleep? He must take action to put a stop to this”.[/quote]

Chameera Perera (Left Centre): [quote]”The country is aware of the daylight robbery committed by the father-in-law and the son-in-law. Are they laundering the black money via this distillery? Such investments cannot be made without state sponsorship. Who in the government is enjoying benefits from the money given by these persons? Does this not have a hand of the Rajapaksa’s? We will reveal these in the future”.[/quote]

MP Sinnathamby Yogeswaran: [quote]”The corrupt and the rich have joined together to build a distillery in Kumuruchchenai. Who is behind this? The Minister and MPs from the ruling UNP are. I recall Batticaloa MP Sasidharana and Organiser Jeganathan coming to meet me. They requested permission for this distillery. How can we give approval for it? Only twenty taverns are permitted to operate in Batticaloa. But there are fifty-eight. Shakthi FM Journalist Nallathamby Nithyanand and Journalist Sasiharan who went to report on this were assaulted. Why? There are many who depend in this distillery. The government must immediately stop the construction of the Mendis distillery”[/quote]

A demonstration to condemn the assault on the journalists took place in Jaffna today, March 23.

Shakthi FM’s Nallathamby Nithyanandan and Journalist Sasiharan who were attacked by thugs when reporting on the alcohol distillery, filed a case with the Valachchenai Magistrate’s Court today, March 23.

The Anti-Corruption Front revealed the shareholders of the distillery.

Venerable Ulapane Sumangala Thero (Anti-Corruption Front): [quote]”Who serves on the Director Board of W. M. Mendis & Co. Ltd. Who are the shareholders? Rajapaksas who were tainted with fraud and corruption during the previous administration have used their subordinates to purchase a large number of shares of this distillery. So, it is not only Perpetual Treasuries or Arjun Aloysius. We have received information. It is clear that Parliament was not given a mandate by the people. A mandate was given only to President Maithripala Sirisena. Justice must be served for the people as per the policy manifesto. Therefore, such distilleries must not be allowed”[/quote]

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