Written by Staff Writer
04 Apr, 2020 | 10:21 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): People dependent on a daily wage have been severely inconvenienced due to the prevailing situation in the country. Residents of the Red Cross village in Kovilgama, Kantale are mostly daily wage labourers.
However, they have been unable to engage in their jobs due to the ongoing curfew. These labourers who have been unable to make ends meet complain that officials have not looked into their issues so far.
The manner in which these residents collect the remaining sheaves of paddy to fulfil their needs brings a tear to anyone watching their plight. The residents of the Maningamuwa Ihalaoyamaduwa area in the Anuradhapura district have been severely affected due to the current situation.
This is because most residents in the area do not have permanent employment. They make ends meet by selling their labour. People living in line-rooms in Grandpass are also facing difficulties at present mainly because they have been unable to find food. These residents who are also daily wage workers do not have a mode of income at present.
Estate workers in Hatton are also facing hardships at present. They say that they have not been receiving sufficient food in the current situation.
The people residing within the limits of the Kandy Municipal Council too have been affected at present.
Residents of the Samodagama area in the Hambantota District are also amongst those who have not received sufficient food. Our correspondent stated that the people in this area are finding it difficult to have one square meal per day.
Attorney-at-law Thushara Dissanayake the Deputy Chairman of SATHOSA was contacted by News 1st, for a response to these issues faced by the people. He said that the mechanism that was set in place to deliver the pre-ordered goods has been amended. The regional orders must be first placed with the District Secretary. Then the District Secretary must forward these orders to the Commissioner of Essential Foods. Goods will then be issued to the District Secretary based on an order by the Commissioner. This is how SATHOSA is delivering essential food items to regional centres.
Meanwhile, former Governor and President’s Counsel, Maithri Gunaratne commenting on the situation said;
“We inform the government not to hand over the distribution of cash to Pradeshiya Sabha and Provincial Council members, but to implement it through the state mechanism. There is no need for political interference. It is with utter disgust we condemn anyone trying to give a political outlook to the programs at this time of disaster and against a backdrop where the people are faced with many issues. We vehemently request the government to provide a Rs. 25,000 allowance before the 10th of April to plantation workers, three wheeler drivers and day labourers disregarding political party affiliations and racial or religious differences.”
Leader of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, Sajith Premadasa says;
“When disbursing money to people through various state funds, everyone should remember that this is not anyone’s personal wealth. This money belongs to the people of the country, this is the taxpayers’ money. When providing relief through the peoples’ money, that mechanism should be proper. Our recommendation is for state officials only to handle this mechanism. Therefore, I would like to request the Government to stop handing out benefits to the people through committees made up of Local Government representatives. Appoint an impartial and genuine group of state officials to steer the mechanism and create a transparent process to provide relief to those impacted by this situation. This should solely be done through the directive of state officials and the Tri Forces.”
Former JVP MP, Sunil Handunnetti also commented on the issue, he said;
“Although they include us in the District Coordination Committees, at times like this they issue circulars naming the member of the Pradeshiya Sabha as the head. They are creating a mechanism that undermines the authority of either the Divisional Secretary or the Grama Niladhari. Although they create lists giving prominence to certain people, those are later changed through amendments by the political representative of a given village. That is an issue. We will let the Government have all the glory in a political sense but we have to come out of this rut as a nation.”
He further said;
“The glory will be presented to the President and the mechanism entailing it but when such amendments are made, the support of many responsible authorities is lost. Many officials who have the knowledge and skill feel demotivated. There is no use in the political representative attempting to head a certain effort when rightfully the Grama Niladhari should be leading the effort. When the Pradeshiya Sabha is converted into an essential service, officials such as the Divisional Secretaries are left without a task to fulfill. This politicization is done via the top brass and not with good intentions.”
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