Sri Lanka Air gone broke, how asks Ranil

The national airline, Sri Lankan Air is broke due to the irresponsible financial and administrative policies of the government, Parliament was told yesterday.

Opposition and UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said Air Lanka Catering Service, a subsidiary of the Sri Lankan, had earned a profit of Rs. 4,000 million in 2007, but the following year - in 2008, it had suffered a loss of Rs. 9,000 million. The government must inform the House the reasons for this loss.

"After the family administration took over, this has happened. We want a clear answer to this question," he said. The UNP had attempted to make a special statement in the House earlier, but was blocked by the government, citing the statement carried a list of questions and had been submitted 20 minutes later than the due time.

Cross talks continued between the chief opposition and government whips in this regard.

Chief Government Whip, Minister Gunawardena warned that if the Chief Opposition Whip continues to threaten him, the permission granted to the latter to make special statements in Parliament on behalf of his leader would be revoked.

Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe said the Chief Government Whip too had been given the privilege of representing the Leader of the House, and if government resorts to an action of stripping MP Perera of his rights to represent the leader of the UNP, then this privilege too could be annulled.

"Otherwise, only the Leader of the House and I will have to make statements. If you want to do away with the prevailing agreement, both government and the opposition will be affected," Wickremesinghe said.

UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said wrong economic policies and favouritism had caused the downfall of the national carrier.

He said the administration of Air Lanka Catering had requested its employees to work five days sans pay, each month owing to the current financial situation.

Chief Government Whip, Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena, said the Government will reply Opposition’s query in the near future.

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