Maithri – Ranil regime should end their political games

“Local government elections cannot be put off for more than a year in a situation like today where emergency regulations are not operative. Hence, the government is attempting to postpone elections through a new bill. The government enact laws not for the benefit of the people or to establish democracy. The serious issue here is that Maithri – Ranil regime does not act according to the mandate of the people. We would commence moves to win an election. Also, at the next Parliamentary session we would ask for a two day debate on postponing elections. These rulers have always acted to get power and to maintain it. they have made democracy a football. they kicked it in directions they wanted. Hence, Maithri – Ranil regime should end this political game,” said the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka speaking at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (17th).

Speaking at the press conference Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, ” About one year has passed since the terms of local government councils have expired. However, no election has been announced. Majority of the local government councils ended their terms on 31st December last year. After that day the period of councils with councilors was extended until 15th May. As such, those local government councils should be dissolved now and an election called.

Local government councils are institutions of people’s representatives that are very close to the daily lives of common people. Daily issues such as repairing roads in the area, disposing garbage, replacing street lamps, little children’s’ pre-school education are connected with local government councils. As a result of dissolving local government administration of these institutions is handled by officials who have no connection with the people. they have no responsibility for the people. The councilor, who is the representative of the people, with whatever shortcomings, pays attention to people’s issues. As such, the administration of people’s representatives is important for the people. As a result of officials carrying out administration nearly for a period of one year the ser vice for the people has completely broken down. The issues that affect people have become an utter mix-up. As such, elections for the local government councils should be held soon.

The only reason the government comes out with to postpone elections is the issue of demarcating electoral boundaries in the new Draft Local Government amendment Bill of 2011. According to the bill a Delimitations Commission was appointed to propose boundaries for electorates. There are many errors in the proposals. The government states the errors have to be corrected before the elections are held. We too believe that errors regarding proposed boundaries should be corrected. For, the delimitation process was carried out according to wishes of former Minister Basil Rajapaksa of the former government. The delimitation of electoral divisions was done to gain more power. An electorate was created by collecting villages sympathetic to the UPFA. In certain areas Muslims and Tamils would be denied the opportunity to elect their representatives due to the wrong delimitation of electoral divisions. Hence, the proposed delimitation process was to strengthen the power of the then government.

anura_dissanayake_jvp_press20160317The present government, on the pretext of this wrong delimitation of electoral process, postpones elections. About 6 months ago Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special statement in the supreme Parliament, as they want to call it, said local government elections would be held before the next April. The same Prime Minister now postpones the election promised to be held in April to December. The real issue is not delimitation process. President Maithripala hopes to postpone the election and to conceal the division that has cropped up in the SLFP. The whole country knows there is a division in the SLFP. It has come on stage. One faction functions with the party only with certain moves. However, if an election is held this division would occur officially. The President postpones elections to prevent this happening. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe thinks the present political situation is not healthy for the UNP. The Prime Minister agrees to postpone elections hoping that the end of the year would be advantageous for him. The needs of Maithri and Ranil have become one.

Maithri – Ranil government should pay attention to the mandate it received. How were elections held during Rajapaksa regime? After Thoppigala was captured an election was held. After Mankulam was overrun another election was held. When Killinochchi was captured another election was held. Elections were held when the time was advantageous for the government. Not a single election for a provincial council or a local government council was held at the due time. This election game became a boomerang against Rajapaksas. Mahinda had to come down of the throne two years ahead as the election was held two years before the due time. Such are the bad experiences of the election game. People defeated the election game played by Rajapaksas. As such, the present rulers too should not be allowed to make elections a betting game.

former Commissioner of Elections has said there are more than 44 errors in the new electoral act. according to this act a political party needs Rs.25 million to keep security deposits. Only a political party that is involved in rackets and thuggery. Also, there is a wrong counting process to determine the winner. Due to these errors we opposed this act in Parliament. Mr. Athaulla, the Minister then, agreed to amend it. The act had drastic errors regarding delimitation process and counting votes.

Also, there is a dialogue in the country regarding a new constitution. the main topic here is the electoral system. the Parliament ahs been changed to a Constitutional Assembly to commence discussions. there shouldn’t be separate systems for provincial councils, local government councils and the Parliament. Our proposal is that there should be a common system for all bodies. Hence we emphasize that the election for local government councils should be held before 31st March. Local government elections cannot be put off for more than a year in a situation like today where emergency regulations are not operative. Hence, the government is attempting to postpone elections through a new bill. The government enact laws not for the benefit of the people or to establish democracy. The serious issue here is that Maithri – Ranil regime does not act according to the mandate of the people. We would commence moves to win an election. Also, at the next Parliamentary session we would ask for a two day debate on postponing elections. These rulers have always acted to get power and to maintain it. they have made democracy a football. they kicked it in directions they wanted. Hence, Maithri – Ranil regime should end this political game.”

People need not suffer due to wrong economic policies of rulers

anura_dissanayake_20160311“The bankrupt capitalist economic system can no longer take the economy of our country forward. Hence, the people of this country can take two moves. The first is to struggle against the economic pressure Ranil – Maithri administration has burdened the people with. The people need not take the responsibility of making the country indebted to the tune of Rs.10,500 billion. It is the rulers of the country that are responsible for this crime. hence, people should come forward against the rulers.

People should not suffer due to wrong economic policies. People don’t have to confront a calamity they have not contributed to,” says the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka addressing a press conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta yesterday (10th).

He further said, “Fourteen months have gone by since the present Prime Minister and the President have been elected. During the 100 day government an interim budget was presented calling it a ‘mini budget’. On 5th November Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presented their economic policy calling it the ‘medium term’ economic policy’. Later, Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayaka presented the budget for 2016. When Finance Minister’s budget reached the third reading the budget had many differences to the one that was presented earlier. Cartons were drawn stating only “Hon. Speaker” remained from Ravi’s budget. This budget was adopted in December after several proposals were slashed. Within three more months Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe has presented several more proposals in addition to Ravi’s proposals.

The myths that UNP has economic experts, when UNP rules people’s pockets will be filled and the economy would go forward in leaps and bounds have been shattered. The economic experts who boasted of a golden era when UNP comes to power have not been able to predict what would be the economy look like three months ahead. The budget proposals presented in December are changed within three months. this shows what the economic vision of this government. On the other hand the government oppress the people by enacting heavy taxes. When presenting budget proposals VAT was set as 8% for goods and 12.5% for services. Now VAT for goods and services have been increased to 15%. As such the prices of goods and services would be largely increased. The prices of services in health ands education sectors that have expanded to the private sector too would go up. This is how the government is planning to slash the opportunities for education of our children.

Also the Nation Building Tax is levied according to turn-over. The turn-over limit was mentioned in the budget as Rs.3.75 million for a quarter. However, the proposal of the Prime Minister brings this down to Rs.3 million. Rs.3 million for 90 days is nearly Rs.33,000 for a day. This means even a small boutique will have to pay this tax. As such, the tax has been extended to small scale businesses as well. Hence, the taxes proposed would affect ordinary people severely. What the Prime Minister said was to tax the capital of the rich. However, the new proposals indicate the depth of the crisis of the government. The likes of Ranil Wickremesinghes do not have a real intention of levy from capitalists. The government will not be able to prevent the drastic affect the proposals will have on the ordinary man.

At the previous budget it was stated that the value of loans taken by the government was Rs.8475 billion. Now Ranil Wickremesinghe says Rs.1042 billion should be added to this amount as they couldn’t find this amount previously. Ranil admits that the amount of debt at the time the budget was presented was not the correct amount. Also, the government states the amount of debt could be Rs.10,500 billion. This means people in our country have become indebted to the tune of Rs.10,500 billion. Ranil’s talk that he is not aware of the real amount of debt is a blatant lie. Did Ranil never come out of Temple Trees in the recent past? We have talked amply about loan taking of Rajapaksa regime. During Rajapaksa regime loans were taken through the Treasury and other institutions. Rajapaksas showed only loans taken through the Treasury. Loans taken through Petroleum Corporation, SriLankan, Road Development Authority had been concealed. This is not a new story. It is not one of Ranil’s expert discovery but a story to conceal levying taxes.

Also, Ranil says instructions would be taken from IMF to find debt in our country that ahs been concealed. Why should we get instructions from IMF to find loans taken by institutions in our country? The amount of debt in the institutions could be found through ministers in charge of the relevant institutions. It is not impossible to find loans taken by Petroleum Corporation, SriLankan, SLTB and CEB. Rajapaksas showed loans taken by institutions such as Petroleum Corporation and SriLankan as their incomes. This is how Rajapaksas concealed the amount of debt to shows a massive income. If Ranil Wickremesinghe says he about this only a few days ago he should give up politics.

The Prime Minister also warns about world economic depression. Ranil Wickremesinghe says G 20 summit that was held recently had stated that there was a world economic crisis and the global economic growth is rapidly declining. Despite world economic crisis is a wonder for Ranil Wickremesinghe, it is not a surprise for the JVP. We have a good understanding regarding it. We talked about the danger when the economic depression that began in the USA in 2008 and spread to Europe. The likes of Ranil who stood for globalization then are not talking about a world economic crisis. They try to hid behind various walls to conceal the impotency of their economic policy. On one side they hide behind the debt wall and against they also hide behind the wall of world economic crisis.

We of the JVP, during election times and in our conventions, have shown that their economic policies cannot take the country forward even by an inch. We have always presented out alternative economic policy. What is being displayed is the impotency of the economic policy of the governments that ruled out country for the last 68 years. Mahinda, Ranil, Chandrika and JR followed the same economic policy. The only difference was in dress, language and moves. When Mahinda implemented the economic policy in Sinhalese Ranil does the same in English. When Mahinda implements the economic policy wearing the national dress Ranil does it wearing the European kit. Chandrika did the same wearing the Kandyan saree. It is the same economic policy that was followed throughout past 68 years.

This is why we told masses that an alternative was necessary. At the last general election we clearly said that Ranil – Maithri government too follows the same economic policy. However, people thought Ranil Wickremesinghe had a magic wand. People though Ranil could salvage the economy by waving the magic wand. Both these parties have the same economic policy. Like the two sides of a drum. They played the same beat throughout the last 68 years. What is the result at present? the rulers say they cannot find the amount of debt the country has subjected to. These rulers should be ashamed. If a husband says he is not aware of the loans taken the wife would chase away the husband. this is what has happened to our country as well. Ruler s have to get the help of the IMF to find the amount of debt of the country. Ranil, Mahinda, Chandrika and Ranil cannot evade the responsibility of the peril the country has been pushed to. It is their wrong economic policy that has made every citizen in our country indebted to the tune of Rs.500,000.

This year Rs.1209 billion has to be paid as the loan interest installment. This is equal to the total income of the country. Haven’t the rulers of this country made this a bankrupt country by pushing the economy of the country so that the loan interest installment to be paid for a year equals its total economy? Don’t the likes of Ranil and Mahinda have to apologize to the people for the crime and the destruction they committed against the people and the country? It would be difficult to come out of this devastation for several years and even the unborn generations will have to feel the brunt of the ruination.

The bankrupt capitalist economic system can no longer take the economy of our country forward. Hence, the people of this country can take two moves. The first is to struggle against the economic pressure Ranil – Maithri administration has burdened the people with. The people need not take the responsibility of making the country indebted to the tune of Rs.10,500 billion. It is the rulers of the country that are responsible for this crime. hence, people should come forward against the rulers. People should not suffer due to wrong economic policies. People don’t have to confront a calamity they have not contributed to.

Also, it is now not necessary to instill the need of an alternative economic system. For, the impotency of the existing economic system is being revealed day by day. The people should think whether the future generations too should be exposed to this calamity. Hence, we call upon the people to come forward. Is it necessary to experiment with UNP, SLFP, Ranil Wickremesinghe or Mahinda Rajapaksa again and again? The responsibility of the people is to build a broad people’s force and we invite people to come forward. We also invite the media to write more and more on behalf of the people. We call upon the working masses to take to the streets on behalf of the born and unborn children of our country. It is the responsibility of the citizens of the country.”

Farmlands will be battlefields if fertilizer subsidy is denied

“The farmers have to take to the streets to do their cultivation and also to sell their produce. Maithri – Ranil government must listen to the demands of the farmer community. If the government is not prepared to listen to the farmer community we would take steps to guide All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation lead by Comrade Namal Karunaratna to carry out agitations with the participation of farmers in all cultivating areas. Soon the farm lands would become battle fronts. We affirm to the people in the country and specially to farmer community that the struggle would not be let down until the struggle for fertilizer subsidy is won. This is a struggle that we should win. We call upon the whole farmer community to rally with us to win the struggle,” said the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka speaking at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (3rd). The National Organizer of All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Comrade Namal Karunaratna too was present.

Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, “Agriculture in the country and the farmer community are confronted with a serious fatality due to the agricultural policy of this government. The policy of the previous government as well as the present one is to take the country towards a service economy instead of the needed production economy. As a result the service portion of GDP has risen to 56%. Currently, the portion of agriculture has come down to 10.5%. The production economy has been broken down. We have to import products worth US$19 billion. About 7 million people in our country depend on agriculture. It could be more. In areas such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa even state employees engage in agriculture for an additional income. As such, the number engaged in indirect agriculture is bigger.

The provisions, facilities and subsidies given to agriculture have been slashed throughout the past. Allocations for seed farms are slashed and many are closed down. The fertilizer subsidy is slashed. Farmers have to buy seeds from the private sector at exorbitant prices. Normally, the harvesting season is the time that the farmer is happy. However, the farmer has to take to the streets to get his harvest sold. The harvesting season has become a time to mourn.

Now the fertilizer subsidy has been slashed. Fertilizer subsidy is not an idea that perceived by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. When fertilizer subsidy was cut in 2005 All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation engaged in a fast unto death. It was made a political slogan. As such, the UPFA government and Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa had to make available fertilizer at Rs.350 a bag. However, previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime increased the price of fertilizer by introducing a so-called insurance of Rs.150 for a bag of fertilizer thereby increasing the price to Rs.500. The present regime too is going along the path taken by Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. They have taken steps to slash the fertilizer subsidy. Until now farmers were given a bag of fertilizer at Rs.500 for paddy fields up to 5 acres. Fertilizer for other crops were given at Rs.1200 a bag at open market. The present regime slashed the subsidy in two ways. One is according to the extent of land. earlier the subsidy was until 5 acres. Now it has been reduced to 2 1/2 acres. On the other hand the price of fertilizer was increased to Rs.3500 a bag. Instead of the fertilizer subsidy it was proposed to pay Rs.25,000 for 2 1/2 acres for a year. this means Rs.12,500 for a season; Rs.5000 for an acre.

The government in its budget said fertilizer for other crops had to be bought at the open market. That means they have to buy at Rs.3200 a bag. when farmers agitated the limit of 2 1/2 acres was increased to 5 acres. The budget was presented after the President, the Prime Minister and the cabinet had approved the move to limit fertilizer subsidy for 2 1/2 acres. However, the government had to change its stance when farmers started agitating. the 2 1/2 acre limit had to be increased to 5 acres. it was said that the price of a bag of fertilizer would be brought down to Rs.2500. However, the slashing of the subsidy continued. A farmer who had to spend Rs.500 for a field of 5 acres spent only Rs.2500 for 5 acres. Now, at the rate of Rs.2500 a bag the farmer had to spend Rs. 12,500. However, the government gives only Rs.5000 as the subsidy. this means the farmer has to pay an extra Rs.7500 from his pocket.

Making available subsidy for agriculture is not charity. It is not like giving relief to the handicapped. It is an investment to develop agriculture in the country. Countries such as the USA, Japan, which this government considers as models, provide subsidies for agriculture. The USA makes available US$29 billion while Japan makes available US$44 to raise the standard of agriculture in their countries. In India seeds are made available at very low prices and power for agriculture has been made vary cheap. This is what should happen. when fertilizer is given at a low price it is a subsidy. This lowers the production cost and the advantage is for the consumer. In this way the relief is for the whole country. this is not an issue that affect only paddy farmers. It is a slash that affects all farmers that cultivate paddy, tea, coconut, rubber, vegetables and other crops. If the government slashes fertilizer subsidy the consume r who buys rice, vegetables, fruits etc will have to buy them at increased prices.

We started agitations against slashing of fertilizer subsidy with the presentation of the budget to Parliament. At that time the farmers did not feel the affect of the move very much. However, we went round the country, from village to village, apprising the farmers. The ‘Kamath Sabhawa’ (Thrashing-floor gathering) was one such step. In farmer colonies and districts we commenced a dialogue with farmers through ‘Kamath Sabhawa’;we recruited members to our All Ceylon Farmer s’Federation. We strengthened our organizations. As such, we were able to launch a series of agitations against the slashing of fertilizer subsidy. Yesterday farmer s encircled the residence of the Minister of Agriculture and engaged in a massive agitation. If the government behaves stubbornly there would be farmer agitations throughout the country. Earlier, when farmer s came to Colombo some in the government carried on a mud slinging campaign saying they were not farmers. They said farmers would not come to Colombo. they would be happy if farmers would never come to Colombo. We would like to ask President Maithripala Sirisena whether those who came to the agitation at Kaduruwela- his native village were not farmers.

The government comes out with various stories to conceal the real intention of breaking down production. The government is attempting to use carbonic fertilizer as an excuse to slash fertilizer subsidy. If so, why didn’t the government have a programme to produce carbonic fertilizer? This is not a question regarding a packet of carbonic fertilizer used to grow flowers in ones garden. Carbonic fertilizer is available in 500 grams or 1 kilo packets to be used for home gardening. However, does the government have a plan to produce carbonic fertilizer for acres and acres of paddy lands? Who is responsible for the percentage of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium in such fertilizer? There is no issue if bags of carbonic fertilizer with such standard are made available. However, the government does not have a plan or a policy for such a production. the plan of the government is to slash fertilizer subsidy and save money.

There is also the issue of marketing the harvest of paddy. The government should buy the surplus stocks and store it when harvesting takes place. this should be made available to the consumer before the next harvesting season. However, the government had no such plan. now, stores are being emptied when harvesting takes place for ‘maha’ season. As a result the price of paddy hits rock bottom. What is in the paddy – rice market at present is a distortion. Normally when the price of paddy is low the price of rice should go down. When the price of paddy is high the price of rice too would go up. However, even when the price of paddy has hit rock bottom the price of rice has gone up. How could this be? It is because the price of paddy is decided by a few mill owners. As such, the government should intervene to stop this distortion.

The farmers have to take to the streets to do their cultivations and also to sell their produce. Maithri – Ranil government must listen to the demands of the farmer community. If the government is not prepared to listen to the farmer community we would take steps to guide All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation lead by Comrade Namal Karunaratna to carry out agitations with the participation of farmers in all cultivating areas. Soon the farm lands would become battle fronts. We affirm to the people in the country and specially to farmer community that the struggle would not be let down until the struggle for fertilizer subsidy is won. This is a struggle that we should win. We call upon the whole farmer community to rally with us to win the struggle.”