Written by Staff Writer
30 Dec, 2019 | 9:43 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – 350,000kg of expired rice was discovered from a Sathosa storage facility in Hingurakgoda today. The stock was discovered following an inspection carried out by the All Ceylon Farmers Federation.
A group including the national organizer of the All Ceylon Farmers Federation, inspected the Sathosa warehouse today. Stocks of paddy were still being issued for the purpose of animal feed.
Namal Karunaratne, National Organizer of the All Ceylon Farmers Federation stated that the stocks of paddy were brought in 2017 and the expiry date was in August 2019.
An officer-in-charge stated that the PHI officers had deemed these products as unfit for human consumption. He added that the paddy stocks were then sent to Gannoruwa, and passed as animal feed.
Meanwhile, stock of paddy passed as animal feed, which is only due to expire in February 2020 was discovered inside the warehouse.
“Why was this stock of paddy, that will only expire in February 2020, passed as animal feed? When there was no rice shortage in 2018, why did the government spend so much, and import rice?
Once paddy is passed as animal feed, they purchase the paddy at a lower cost. They once again polish the paddy in mills and sell it to the consumer.
We should not allow the government to import rice like this, and waste public funds. We urge President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take immediate action and to address this issue.”
Meanwhile, a group of UNP MPs visited the Narahenpita Economic Centre today to inquire about the prices of rice.
UNP MP Ajith P. Perera: What just happened? Did the cooperatives get closed down after the new government was appointed?
A representative responded that after a week it was decided to deliver paddy stocks directly to millers without handing it to the cooperative unit.
He added that the price of rice increased following this decision as the Government lost the opportunity to control the price of rice when paddy stocks were withdrawn from the cooperative.
A merchant stated that it ideal for the Government to manage rice production and stop mafia from being continued by the mill owners.
Ajith P. Perera stated that the whole supply of rice is controlled by about 6 people and they determine the price.
He added that with the change in Government the Shakthi cooperative was stopped and they must look into why it was shut down.
He further added that it was a conspiracy because they are now controlled by mill owners.
UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha:
“We have information that the Government has about 10,000kg of red rice in their stores. They can provide it for Rs 75. I don’t understand how they are beneath this rice mafia and are unable to control the situation. The President doesn’t have to come to Narahenpita, he just has to make 5 or 6 calls.”
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