Joint Opposition alleges ‘mega deal’ on Modara harbour

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



By Chamodi Gunawardana

Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has leased the Modara Fisheries Harbour to a company without Cabinet approval when he was the Fisheries Minister, the Joint Opposition chargedyesterday.

Speaking at a media briefing, Matara District United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Kanchana Wijesekera alleged Dr. Senaratne had leased the harbour to a private company without getting Cabinet approval. Wijesekera also threatened legal action if the deal is not investigated by the Government. 

“The land of the harbour has been leased for a monthly rental of Rs.125,000for 25 years. I have collected information the land was released by an order of then Chairman of the Ceylon Fisheries Harbour Corporation followed by intervention of Minister Senaratne,” Wijesekera claimed.

He also alleged the entire work force belonging to the Fisheries Ministry was removed from the premises and the security of the harbour was handed over to a private security company. 

“When I raised these allegations in Parliament current Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera admittedto my charges and said he will look into that matter as soon as possible,” Wijesekera said.

At that point Minister Amaraweera said the transaction had occurred at the end of 2014 under the administration of the previous regime.According to media reports published at the time 45 acres of land under the harbour had been leased for a severely undervalued amount.

Amaraweera added the Ministry has proposed new conditions to the company to increase the monthly rental up to Rs.450,000. Amaraweera also added the Ministry would estimate the real value of the land, which he presumed would be more than Rs.1,000,000. 

The Ministry also expects to obtain the deficit of the rental for the past two years from the company.

Pic by ShehanGunasekara