Rs. 90 mn spent on SPC governor
and ministers but only Rs. 75 mn  on healthcare —JVP

Horses yoked to bullock carts kill one person
UNP councillor’s wife gets Rs. 50,000 courtesy of UPFA
Governor has four chefs and 32 on her personal staff
571 vacancies for teachers of aesthetic subjects exist in SP
A school closed down every 38 days

JVP Propaganda Secretary and MP Vijitha Herath said the cost of maintaining the Southern Province Governor Kumari Balasuriya and provincial ministers including the Chief Minister was Rs. 90 million. But the Provincial Council had spent only Rs. 75 million on the hospitals under its purview.

The personal staff of the Governor consisted of 32 members. She had four chefs. All those workers were maintained with public funds. Subsequent to an increase in her personal staff from 17 to 32, the UPFA had tried to pass a supplementary estimate but the JVP had opposed it, Hearth said.

JVP Chief Ministerial Candidate for the forthcoming SPC polls and former Provincial Councillor Sisira Kumara said the UNP, too, had agreed to vote for the supplementary estimates on the condition that fuel allowance of the councillors be increased up to Rs. 20,000.

Sisira Kumara said the SPC had allocated Rs. 40 million to provide interest free loans to the self-employed but nobody knew what had become of that allocation. He said: "There was an abandoned industrial zone in Weligama, called Charlie Mount. The SPC allocated Rs. 40 million to revive it. Another Rs. 40 million was allocated for the renovation of the Baddegama Public Ground. The SPC also set aside Rs. 40 million for a swimming pool at a popular school in Galle. But, all projects had yet to be completed and nobody knew how the funds had been utilised," Sisira Kumara said.

Sisira Kumara said UNP and UPFA Councillors had enjoyed foreign trips and sold their vehicle permits to the tune of Rs. 150 mn. But the JVP councillors had desisted from such dissipation of public funds, he said.

Chairman of the Finance Committee of the SPC, former JVP Councillor Nalin Hewage said once the ruling party councillors had taken away some vehicles forcibly from the Chief Secretary’s office. They had to suspend sittings of the Finance Committee to get back the vehicles, he said. The SPC had purchased a machine used for road construction at a cost of Rs. 9.8 million but it was idling as the type of tar required for it was not available in Sri Lanka.

Hewage said the SPC had provided financial assistance for those who earned less than Rs. 2,000 a month to help them build houses at a rate of Rs. 20,000 each. "But we have found that wife of a UNP councillor representing the Galle District obtained Rs. 50,000 with the approval of the board of ministers," he said.

Hewage said the Provincial Tourism Ministry had started a horse carriage service from the Galle Fort to the town. They had purchased two horses at a cost of Rs. 760,000. But they had made the mistake of yoking the horses to bullock carts thus causing the animals to panic and trample a group of people, one of whom died. The SPC had to compensate the family of the victim at a cost of Rs. 200,000 to taxpayers. Thereafter, the ‘horse carriage’ business which the SPC introduced at the behest of some councillors who had seen horse carriages during an overseas tour had been suspended.

Hewage said: "About 571 vacancies exist in the Southern Province for teachers of aesthetic subjects. But, unemployed aesthetic graduates protest opposite the Colombo Fort Railway Station demanding jobs. There are 101 Tamil teacher vacancies in the province. The SPC has been closing schools at the rate of one in every 38 days and around 34 factories have been closed."

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