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Rs.200mn spent to distribute Indian donations!

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The Food Commissioner’s Department is spending nearly Rs.200 million to distribute essential items including food and medicines received as donations from India, the United Rice Producers Association alleged.

Its President Mudith Perera said five or six rupees more per kilogram has been paid than the standard prices charged for the transportation of one kilogram of rice.

More than Rs.180 million had been paid for the rice transported so far.

Tenders were called on June 15 to distribute 40,000 metric tons of rice, 450 metric tons of milk powder, and 4.6 metric tons of medicines received from India on two occasions in June.

Three companies have come forward as contractors. One of them had requested Rs.50 to transport one tonne per kilometer and he has been removed. The remaining two who had offered to charge only Rs.35 were selected.

Mr. Perera said that those two companies are not transport companies but rice mills owners. One mill has only one lorry that can carry 20 tons, while the other mill has only lorries that can carry less than 10 tons.

He said while Sathosa and Cooperative Societies have lorries, the tender had been offered to the two companies at almost twice the existing price ignoring standard requirements.

District secretaries buy paddy from farmers and pay between Rs.6-8 per kg to transport rice and fertiliser per one kilometer.

Mr.Perera said a 20-ton lorry charges between Rs.5 and 7 to transport a kilogram of rice from Colombo to Ampara, Polonnaruwa and other areas.

However, he said the Food Commissioner’s Department has paid nearly Rs.240,000 for the lorry that transported donated rice to Ampara.

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Bakery industry in crisis as bread and bun sales decline

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The All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) has reported a significant drop of around 50% in the sales of cakes, bread, and buns in the local market. The association attributes this decline to the high manufacturing costs currently faced by the bakery industry.

According to the ACBOA, the costs of margarine and butter have surged to Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 3,000 per kilogram, respectively. Additionally, the association cited challenges in obtaining imported eggs from India, forcing them to purchase locally produced eggs at Rs. 60 each.

The chairman of the association expressed concerns about the impact these rising costs have on the bakery industry. In light of these challenges, the ACBOA is urging the government to provide concessions and work towards reducing the prices of essential ingredients before the upcoming Sinhala and Hindu New Year.

The association’s plea emphasizes the need for government support to help stabilize the bakery industry and ensure its sustainability amid the current economic challenges. Further updates on the situation and any government response will be monitored closely.

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Former Minister Ronnie de Mel no more

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Former Minister – Ronnie de Mel has passed away today (27) while being treated at a private hospital, reports say.

He was aged 99 years old.A former civil servant, he was the Minister of Finance from 1977 – 1988 under the United National Party government and holds the record for the largest number of budgets presented by a finance minister.

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NPP to also back NCM against Speaker

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The National People’s Party (NPP) has also decided to back the No Confidence Motion against Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kieirella, Professor G. L. Peiris, Tissa Attanayake, Chandima Weerakkody, Shan Wijayalal de Silva, and others have signed the motion on behalf of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and Samagi Jana Alliance.

Meanwhile, Dullas Alahapperuma, the leader of the Freedom People’s Congress has also said that they would back the NCM.

Yesterday (26), the Uttara Lanka Sabhagaya had stated they would back the motion as well. 

The motion cites several reasons, including the Speaker’s failure to appropriately present the amendments proposed by the Supreme Court for the Online Safety Bill before its passage. 

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