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Rs. 450 b annually to maintain state institutions


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  • Rs. 1.8 b in EPF arrears of estate workers 
  • Asserts no lands near Knuckles Forest Reserve will be given to private sector 

Around Rs. 450 billion is being spent annually by the Government to maintain state institutions, Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella, told Parliament yesterday.

Kiriella said that the Jana Wasama and Elkaduwa Plantations, which are being operated by the Government, incur heavy losses. He made these remarks in response to an issue raised by Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardane.

MP Gunawardane said that environmentalists and residents of the area were protesting alleged moves to hand over land adjacent to the Knuckles Forest Reserve to the private sector.

Stressing that no land belonging to the Knuckles Forest Reserve would be given to the private sector, Minister Kiriella said there were 250 proposals to resuscitate underutilised and poorly maintained state estate lands.  

Acknowledging that these project proposals were formulated by five consultants under the guidance of Highways and Road Development Minister Kabir Hashim, the Leader of the House refuted allegations that such lands were given to associates of Minister Hashim. 

He went on to say that when the current government commenced duties in 2015 it had to settle the EPF arrears of estate workers to the tune of Rs. 1,800 million, which successive governments had failed to pay for the past 20 years. 

The Government spends Rs. 1,500 million annually to maintain state-owned plantations, he said. 

Kiriella then pointed out that 500,000 acres of estate land had been given to nine private companies during the tenure of President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s government in 1996. (SG)


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