PM attributes natural disasters to opposition dashing coconuts


By Saman Indrajith

Had the Joint Opposition members not dashed coconuts to invoke the wrath of gods at various religious places, the country could have averted the recent natural disasters, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

The Premier said so when MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena requested a special debate in Parliament on the prevailing emergency situation in the country due to floods and landslides.

MEP Leader Gunawardena urged the Prime Minister to convene a special sitting of Parliament next week to discuss the situation. "We are deeply concerned about the prevailing situation. Life rescue missions are going on. Loss of lives, spread of various diseases leading to a possible epidemic and damages to property and business have been reported in many parts.

Therefore we urge the Prime Minister to have an urgent debate on the national disaster situation."       

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said he was awaiting a comprehensive report from the Disaster Management Ministry to proceed in that regard. "I have ordered the Disaster Management Minister to produce a full report. Let us have this discussion based on this report."

At this point, the Prime Minister sarcastically remarked that such a disaster would not have taken place if the Joint Opposition had not smashed coconuts at Kovils.

State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe, rising to a point of order, asked the Joint Opposition MPs to go to the field and assist the affected people. He said debating in the House would not be of any help in relief distribution work. He said the government has decided to pay compensation for all damaged houses irrespective of whether those were illegal constructions or not.

MP Gunawardena said they did not require any invitation to go to the ground and assist the people. 

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