UNP using disasters for its own gain – Nimal

Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva accused the United National Party of attempting to gain political mileage by highlighting the plight of recent flood and landslide victims in the country.

He said the opposition was shedding crocodile tears at a time when the government has taken all possible steps to provide relief and assistance to the affected people.

"The government has immediate and long term programmes to help the affected people to rebuild their lives. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already given necessary instructions to the relevant officials and has allocated Rs 5 billion for this task," he said.

"But, the UNP and the JVP, who shed crocodile tears for the affected people, have not given even a loaf of bread to them. They are making all kinds of statements to deceive the people," he said.

Minister de Silva made this observation while addressing a meeting in support of UPFA candidates contesting the local government elections in the Badulla district.

He said natural disasters have occurred in almost every country in the world in recent months. "But, the people should not be kept in a state of worry about their future. We must move forward. The government is continuing with its mega development programme."

He said due to the shortage of local production, the prices of consumer items had gone up. "However, the government has taken meaningful measures to control the rising cost of living, despite the attempts by some unscrupulous traders who try to create an artificial shortage of consumer products. The government will take stern action against such traders and punish them."

The minister noted that President Rajapaksa expected the local government representatives to play a major role in serving the masses of this country. The president would provide all necessary funds to develop villages and towns, irrespective of their political, cast and nationality differences, he said.

At the meeting, candidates briefed the minister about the people who were displaced by recent natural disasters in the area and minister de Silva decided to provide them lands in the Kahagalla, Telbadda, Yelwaton, Sring Weli estates.

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