May 28, 2020

Can't have both ways - Ranjith Vithanage Featured

Chairman of the National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection - Ranjith Vithanage has commented after the government imposed a Maximum Retail Price on three varieties of rice from yesterday (27) midnight.

Accordingly, the new MRP for a kilo of Nadu is Rs 96, while it is Rs 98 for a kilo of Samba and Rs 125 for a kilo of Keeri Samba.

Speaking to 'Sri Lanka Mirror' on whether it was possible to get rid of this 'rice mafia' altogether, Mr. Vithanage said it could be easily done if the Paddy Marketing Board Act (No. 14 of 1971) was revived. He added that he had formally informed president Gotabaya Rajapaksa of this.

This would empower and further strengthen the Paddy Board and it will not become possible to withhold stocks, he said.

"You cannot have both ways... If the government disregards the 220 million-strong population, we will not hesitate to even back them to topple the government, he added.

The move to impose a MRP was also criticised on social media.

Not a victory or loss - Bandula

Meanwhile, speaking at the Cabinet briefing today (28), co-cabinet spokesman - minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the government had never surrendered to the rice mafia.

Although rice prices were decreased to provide relief to the public, practical difficulties arose in the market when trying to implement it. Therefore, prices were revised to prevent a shortage in the market, he said.

Noting that the measure would also prevent the rise of a black market if a shortage took place, the minister said pointed out that it was neither a victory or a loss of the rice vendor.