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May 18, 2017

If Ravi is to be removed, so should Arjuna! Featured

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed president Maithripala Sirisena that in the event finance minister Ravi Karunanayake is removed from his position due to inefficiency, ports minister Arjuna Ranatunga too, should be removed, according to sources at the PM’s office.

The PM has alleged that Ranatunga has obstructed port development work and rendered the activities inefficient.

The president had initially decided to amend the positions of certain ministers, who had been strongly criticized the media, in a cabinet reshuffle, but has since agreed with a group of UNP ministers who had met him and noted a danger of the removed figures being politically stranded after being established in society as being corrupt.

Meanwhile, ministers who are close to PM Wickremesinghe will not have their portfolios changed, say reliable sources.

The PM and top ministers are disappointed with the manner in which Arjuna’s brother Dhammika had criticized the government while participating in a Sirasa TV programme.

Arjuna accused of inefficiency

The main accusation against Arjuna is that he had rendered inefficient the 400 billion dollar Colombo port eastern terminal project that was launched in 2008.

Experts say this project is a key way of generating income for the port by posing a competitive challenge to the CICC terminal.

Plans had been made in 2013 to develop the terminal with a 100 m dollar investment and cranes worth 80 m dollars were to be imported, but the procurement was suspended citing irregularities, after Arjuna took over in December 2014.

That was nearly two and a half years ago, but a resumption of the project is not in sight.

Even if it resumes immediately, it will take around one and a half years for completion.

This has denied the port the opportunity to earn income by handling around 500,000 containers last year alone.

Arjuna had come under criticism by port trade unions too, mainly over the appointment of his relations to positions in the port, but his stand with regard to the Hambantota port agreement took the focus elsewhere.

 

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