- Main Opposition also faults Govt. for rushing organic fertiliser-only policy
Main Opposition the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) yesterday called on the Government to prioritise the wellbeing of the people instead of beautifying cities, with Leader Sajith Premadasa questioning as to why Cabinet approved Rs. 2 billion for ‘beautification projects’ amidst a pandemic.
Issuing a statement, the SJB labelled the move to allocate funds for city beautification projects as “insensitive and ignorant”. Premadasa urged the Government to reconsider the decision.
“Education of youth is in disarray. The online education model is leaving many behind. Students and teachers are under pressure because of it,” Premadasa stated, adding that short-sighted decisions taken by the Prime Minister had complicated the issue.
The Opposition Leader charged that policy failure on part of the Government had compounded the uncertainty faced by paddy farmers following the sudden ban on chemical fertiliser, adding that it could lead to the country needing to import more food in the future.
Separately, SJB Parliamentarian Nalin Bandara addressing the media echoed the Premadasa’s sentiments, claiming that the decision to suspend the importation of chemical fertiliser would lead to a 40% reduction in food production.
“An overnight ban on chemical fertiliser may be welcomed by a few in Colombo. However, you can’t suddenly ban fertiliser in such a manner. The country can’t produce all the organic fertiliser it needs tomorrow, and it costs three times more than chemical fertiliser. How will the farming community adjust so suddenly?” Bandara queried.
In his statement, Premadasa also criticised the State management of the COVID-19 outbreak, charging that politicisation of the response mechanism has led to constructive efforts by health professionals being derailed.