Opening of renovated Hingurana weekly fair complex a circus


Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage his wife Petroleum Deputy Minister Anoma Gamage being conducted to opening ceremony of the Hingurana weekly Fair Building on Saturday. (Extreme Right) Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahmed declaring open the building.

By Sujatha Amarabandu

The organisers of the opening ceremony of the newly done up Hingurana Weekly Fair complex found themselves in a dilemma as they were forced to conduct two opening ceremonies on Saturday (27).

First, Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage with his wife Petroleum Deputy Minister Anoma Gamage barged in and declared the fair open. That was followed by Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamed and his party unveiling the same plaque sometime later on the same day.

The opening ceremony of the building constructed at a cost of Rs. 35 million by the previous regime was suddenly scheduled for Saturday. Though the construction had been initiated and funded by former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, his name has not been mentioned in the memorial plaque.

The building was used by the traders for nearly one year after it was renovated, but an official opening ceremony was organised and a plaque fixed by the organisers. The plaque said that it had been opened by Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Nazeer Ahmed under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and directions of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the invitation of Eastern Provincial Council Chairman Chandradasa Galappaththi with the participation of Members Meththanda Silva, Manjula Fernando and other officials of the council.

Addressing the ceremony after second opening, Chairman of the Eastern Provincial Council Chandradasa Galappaththi said that it was so unfortunate that some politicians acting like terrorists. "It was the first time I have noticed an incident similar to this during my 40 year long career in politics. He said Daya Gamage’s conduct was unbecoming of a minister."

Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage, contacted for comment, said he and his wife, Petroleum Deputy Minister Anoma Gamage, had been invited by the villagers and traders to attend the opening ceremony.

"We went and there were drummers and dancers. We unveiled the plaque. I met traders and spoke to them. There was no mention the chief minister coming. But later in the evening I saw on TV news that Chief Minister of the Eastern Province too had gone there after us and declared open the same building. The building was constructed with funds from the North East Local Services Improvement Project of the World Bank. It nothing to do with the provincial council. Funds also came from the government. I do not approve of politicians vying with each other for opening ceremonies because it is ugly and I was not aware that the Chief Minister of the Province was coming to the same ceremony that I had been invited. Otherwise I would have stayed away."

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