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31st  October, 2004  Volume 11, Issue 16

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    

Politics

JVP split over links with SLFP

Inside Politics 

By Suranimala

While the government was given a dire warning by the JVP last week to honour the Memorandum of.....

More....



> The revenge of Karuna

> Waiting for budgetary relief


JVP split over links with SLFP

Inside Politics 

By Suranimala

While the government was given a dire warning by the JVP last week to honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the SLFP under the threat of withdrawing support in the provincial councils as an initial step, the opposition UNP was busy putting its own house in order as a precursor to launching the presidential election campaign in December.

Nandana Gunatilleke, K. D. Lalkantha, Anura Dissanayake, Wimal Weerawansa, Mahinda Rajapakse and Mangala Samaraweera

The JVP warning to the government came at a time the party was haemorrhaging internally due to tensions arising from the alliance with the SLFP and it was as much an attempt at distancing itself from the failure of the government to deliver on the pre election promises as it was to keep unity within the Marxists.

Rupture

It was evident from the inception the SLFP-JVP alliance was far from a marriage made in heaven and before long trouble would brew but not even the pessimists within the alliance thought the rupture will come as fast as it did.

Having got together for political expediency, the SLFP became wise to the fact the future of the party was at stake no sooner the general election results were out, which fears were further heightened following the provincial council elections with the JVP, through sheer numbers, being in a position to control the fate of both parliament and the PCs.

And with further inroads being made at grassroots level using the state machinery at their command, the JVP was set for the kill and only had to ensure the MoU signed with the SLFP was followed to the letter to achieve their long term objective of marginalising the blues.

By this time of course, SLFPers were also feeling the pinch and started complaining to the President both verbally as well as in writing the dangers ahead and Kumaratunga decided to short-circuit the Marxists by circumventing the MoU. The MoU necessitated all decisions in government to be taken collectively.

But the President could not charter a separate course to safeguard the SLFP by sidestepping the MoU whilst continuing to be the leader of the UPFA and in a politically astute move resigned as president of the UPFA, thereby shedding all responsibility for the pact.

With that done the President started consolidating the position of the SLFP by totally working outside the MoU signed with the JVP, much to the chagrin of the Marxists, who before long realised Kumaratunga was wise to the JVP game plan and had beaten them at their own game.

However, the likes of Wimal Weerawansa and Ministers Anura Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath and Chandrasiri Wijesinghe were not ready to rock the boat having just got into government and called for a more accommodative approach by the party though there was strong resistance from Minister K.D. Lalkantha and Nandana Gunatilleke who wanted the party to call Kumaratunga's bluff with regard to the JVP.

Charges and counter charges

It was at a time this issue was simmering that Kumaratunga's cabinet paper calling into question the JVP's 10,000 tank rehabilitation project came to be tabled in cabinet, causing severe embarrassment to the JVP in general and Agriculture Minister, Anura Dissanayake in particular.

What followed is now history with charges and counter charges of corruption being levelled by the alliance partners with Wimal Weerawansa even talking of the President in disparaging terms publicly to distance himself from the image he was a lackey of Kumaratunga and Mangala Samaraweera.

It is in this backdrop the JVP politburo met Monday, October 25, with the Marxists under pressure to match its words with action lest it be tainted with the perception of being a party that is 'no action, talk only.'

Thus from the outset it was Nandana Gunatilleke, who is also chairman of the UPFA, who led the attack stating the time is right for the JVP to act against the government lest they be blamed for all its failures despite not having a role in the decision-making process given the violation of the MoU with impunity by the President.

"Time has come for drastic action," Gunatilleke said, with Minister Lalkantha nodding his assent.

Continuing, Gunatilleke said the President was publicly attacking the JVP to destroy the popularity of the party and had to be stopped through a massive counter attack which she would feel.

He went on to say, the President was involved in a conspiracy to destroy the JVP for a while despite views to the contrary entertained by some of his party's ministerial colleagues and that one of the reasons for making allegations of financial mismanagement on the tank project was to destroy the party's image.

Added he, "cabinet papers are submitted in violation of the MoU. We have repeatedly called for the implementation of the MoU but she has no intention of doing it. That is why she resigned from the UPFA leadership. That way she is avoiding responsibility for implementing the MoU. We must not be fooled by such tactics."

With that said, Gunatilleke proposed a drastic course of action in the form of the JVP ministers boycotting cabinet meetings until such time the President withdraws her cabinet paper alleging financial impropriety on the 10,000 tank rehabilitation project.

What Gunatilleke did with that move was paint Minister Anura Dissanayake, who is in Wimal Weerawansa's orbit of influence into a corner believing he could not possibly oppose a proposal which was essentially a defence of his conduct as agriculture minister.

Accusations

Coming into support Gunatilleke on this issue was Minister Lalkantha, the rising star of the JVP who accused the President of releasing to the media letters written to the party.

"Comrade Nandana is right. The President planned the whole thing perfectly. She is the one who leaked the cabinet paper to the media. Even a fool can see that. The intention was to show the nation that there were rogues even in the JVP," Lalkantha said.

Added he, "Even the cabinet paper on the tank project was leaked. We too have released letters written on various issues but not a single letter written to the President. Why have we not done that?"

Explaining the party's failure to do so was Minister Dissanayake who said it was in keeping with the principle of collective responsibility, which the party wanted to adhere to.

"The idea was to show her we followed the principle of collective responsibility even though she did not," Dissanayake added.

Not stopping at that, Dissanayake said he and Wimal had discussed the issue with Minister Mangala Samaraweera who he said had also made a request to keep the issue under wraps without allowing it to spiral out of control.

But that explanation did not hold water with Gunatilleke who pointed out, the President was not bothered or affected by such subtleties. "Instead, she called for your explanation within a week on the corruption charges levelled and released it to the media, " Gunatilleke thundered.

And not hiding his anger, Gunatilleke said the JVP must stop taking important decisions within the confines of Minister Samaraweera's house.

There was, Gunatilleke said, a growing belief among party members that the JVP ministers had fallen into a carefully laid trap by the President and Samaraweera.

"There are various rumours about comrade Wimal too. We don't believe those things but our members think he is trying to protect the President. That is not good for party morale," Gunatilleke further said.

At this point a pensive Weerawansa suddenly got activated claiming the rumours were completely false and baseless, adding it was the UNP media which was engaged in spreading such tales.

Accusing several SLFP ministers also of being part of this conspiracy, Weerawansa said he was prepared to take on the President any time if the party gave him the green light.

Shabby treatment

But Gunatilleke had more to say and he went on to draw the attention of the politburo to the 'Sanvardana Sangramaya' launched by the President in Anuradhapura last week and said the JVP was treated shabbily in the programme.

Added he, "the whole exercise was to rebuild the SLFP image. Prominence was given to SLFP members but Anura Dissanayake went and sat on the stage. He should not have done that. It was wrong."

Defended Dissanayake - "But I was given a role to play."

Shot back Gunatilleke - "We are not talking of individuals here. Our party should have been given a role, you should have boycotted the event."

The statement of Gunatilleke was particularly potent in the backdrop of Minister Lalkantha who hails from Anuradhapura not participating at the ceremony.

Having said his piece, Gunatilleke reiterated his call for a boycott of cabinet.

But JVP Ministers Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath and Chandrasena Wijesinghe just six months into ministerial office had different ideas stating there were positive signals coming from the President.

Said Dissanayake - "The President has sent some good messages to sort out all the problems. Therefore rather than boycott cabinet, why don't we give a deadline for the implementation of the MoU, failing which we can withdraw support from the provincial councils."

After further discussing the subject, it was finally decided to issue the President an ultimatum to honour the MoU, failing which the JVP would withdraw its support in the provincial councils as a first step and the task of notifying Kumaratunga in writing of the party decision was entrusted to the General Secretary, Tilvin Silva.

The party however also decided on a systematic strangulation of the SLFP if the President did not start implementing the MoU after the initial warning, with the resignation from cabinet and sitting in the opposition benches to follow.

And as a separate pressure tactic, the JVP decided to field its own candidate for the presidential election though the nominee was to be decided only later.

With that out of the way, Tilvin Silva raised complaints received by party members against Fisheries Minister, Chandrasena Wijesinghe in relation to employment given at Ceynor on the recommendation of the Minister's wife.

Silva said the jobs were given in the Ceynor Security Service in violation of party policy leading to several complaints by party members on deviation of policy.

Deviation of policy

Making his own contribution on this issue was Minister Lalkantha who took umbrage over the deviation of policy stating one rule must apply to all ministers.

Lalkantha said in Anuradhapura too people came looking for employment but that he explained the party position that employment will only be on merit.

"If the people get to know we have been providing employment as alleged, they would surround our offices and topple them. Otherwise let's change the party policy and allow all of us to provide employment on an arbitrary basis," the Minister went on to say.

Minister Wijesinghe for his part pleaded ignorance of the whole exercise and promised to investigate the allegation and report back this week.

Interestingly, even before the JVP politburo met, deputy ministers of the SLFP, which had formed a separate grouping too had decided to take the battle to the JVP given their criticism of the President in particular and the government in general.

Accordingly, on a proposal by Deputy Minister of Power, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, it was decided to boycott the ministerial vote of Minister Lalkantha owing to his criticism at the forthcoming budget.

The proposed move was opposed by Deputy Minister, Mervyn Silva who saw it as seriously splitting the alliance but other members were adamant that the JVP too should be sent a warning signal.

News of this development too reached the JVP and the party decided to boycott votes of several SLFP ministers if the deputy ministers persisted with their threats.

If these troubles within the JVP were bad enough, there were storm clouds gathering elsewhere too before the cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, October 26 (Wednesday being a Poya holiday), over a memorandum submitted by Finance Minister, Sarah Amunugama in relation to the appointment of additional secretaries to be in charge of foreign funded projects in five ministries. The ministries were highways, urban development, agriculture, education, and power and energy.

On seeing Amunugama's cabinet paper, Urban Development Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena was visibly angry considering it an interference in his Ministry and telephoned the Finance Minister to inquire the logic behind the move.

Gunawardena told Amunugama, any move to appoint additional secretaries should be left to the respective ministries and the cabinet paper of the Finance Minister was an unwarranted interference in his affairs.

For his part, Amunugama pleaded ignorance, stating he was unaware of the cabinet paper in question but would look into it and was certain there was some misunderstanding on the contents.

"How can you not know when you have signed it? Who gave you the authority to appoint additional secretaries to my Ministry?" Gunawardena asked. Amunugama responded he would look into it and clarify matters.

Unwarranted interference

Thus, no sooner the ministers assembled for the cabinet meeting, both Minister Gunawardena and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, who is also highways minister, commented there was unwarranted interference in their ministries.

Asked Prime Minister Rajapakse from Amunugama - "What is this cabinet paper?"

Amunugama possibly realising the Premier was in an agitated mood sought to downplay the issue stating there would be no changes as contemplated.

Shot back Rajapakse "What do you mean? It is taking away our powers. When did you become the highways minister?"

Given Rajapakse's belligerent mood, Minister Anura Dissanayake inquired from Minister Gunawardena what the problem was only to be told his ministry too had been target for the appointment of an additional secretary.

Said Gunawardena - "He is proposing to appoint an additional secretary to your ministry as well to monitor the use of foreign funds. The Prime Minister has submitted a cabinet paper opposing it."

It was while those arguments were going to and fro that the President walked in for the cabinet meeting only to be greeted with a howl of protest from the Prime Minister.

Said Rajapakse - "I put a cabinet paper. Did you read it? You can cheapen the premiership but don't try to take away my ministerial powers (amathikamata kelinda epa). How can anyone appoint additional secretaries to my ministry?"

Once again Amunugama moved to defuse the situation proposing to act on the basis of Rajapakse's cabinet paper which called for the appointment of the additional secretary by the minister in charge of the subject.

That did not satisfy Minister Gunawardena either, who obviously saw a dark plot in the whole exercise to undermine him.

Said he, "Since you have put a cabinet paper we must look into it. In my ministry, the additional secretary is director planning of the UDA. He is number 400 in the list of seniority."

Looking the picture of innocence, asked Kumaratunga - "Really. Is he so junior?" only to see Amunugama stating he did not know.

Shot back Gunawardena "Yes. You must ask us to know. Don't do it in future. If this went through, it would have led to a big problem in the SLAS."

Controversy

Further controversy was to follow with the Prime Minister pointing out that he and Anura Dissanayake were left out of the cabinet sub committee to direct the additional secretaries on the budgetary allocations of foreign funded projects though the President and Ministers Gunawardena and Susil Premjayanth were included in addition to Mangala Samaraweera, whose ministry is one that is not earmarked for the appointment of an additional secretary.

Jumped in Dissanayake - "Yes, how was my name removed from the sub committee?"

Not waiting to deal any further with the issue, Minister Amunugama said they could work on the basis of Rajapakse's cabinet paper and include Dissanayake and the Premier also in the sub committee.

It was the President who had the final say in the matter however making it clear it was all the work of Amunugama.

The Finance Minister would have submitted the paper because of the foreign funding involved, she said.

In the midst of these internal battles, another front was opened by Minister Mangala Samaraweera who on Thursday, October 28, claimed the next presidential election would only be in 2006 despite Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake already having gone on record stating it will be in 2005.

This announcement of course led to heightened activity in the UNP, which has decided to launch an island-wide agitational campaign on the issue to build public opinion.

The UNP is all set to announce the candidature of Ranil Wickremesinghe at the party convention on December 5, which matter in fact was discussed at the party's political affairs committee earlier in the week.

But the emphasis at the meeting was ensuring party discipline and the need to speak in one voice in the lead up to the December convention and laying the law on the issue was Party Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The political affairs committee had on Monday, October 25, summoned MPs Bandula Gunawardena and M. Maharoof to explain their absence from parliament on the day the national identity card debate took place and it was after giving his explanation that Bandula Gunawardena raised the issue of a different kind of discipline.

Embarrassment

Gunawardena said the 'Gamin Gamata' programme of Colombo District MP, Milinda Moragoda was creating havoc in the party and causing severe embarrassment given the nature of questions and answers given on the various issues confronting the party and the country.

"It shows the party guilty of all the sins it is accused of," Gunawardena argued, adding statements contrary to party positions were also stated in response to questions posed.

Supporting Gunawardena was UNP Chairman, Malik Samarawickrema who said he too has received several complaints from MPs about the programme and that something should be done about it. "This can't go on," Samarawickrema said.

Giving his own views on the matter, Ranil Wickremesinghe said there was no point in blaming any individual since most of them were guilty of this self critical approach running counter to party policy.

"What we have to do is speak in one voice without going in to the past and blaming each other. I have decided that from December that anyone having a 'Bala Mandalaya' meeting and inviting a guest speaker must do so on the basis of names recommended by the party so that one message will be given in policy," Wickremesinghe said.

With that out of the way, Colombo District MP, Ravi Karunanayake was called in to discuss motions submitted in parliament in relation to party policy, and thereafter the trade union leaders, where once again the message was party unity. (See Pot Shots)

But the thrust of the party in the coming weeks will be the presidential election in addition to the cost of living and given the splits within the UPFA, the new year portends more political fireworks and instability.


The revenge of Karuna

By Amantha Perera

On October 24 the Special Task Force made a startling discovery in Kathankudi when STF personnel stopped K. Ganeshan who was travelling on a motorbike. He was carrying night vision equipment with him. He was arrested and later handed over to the Kathankudi Police.

It was not the arrest, but what was discovered in his possession that sent alarm bells ringing. Ganeshan was later described as a Karuna supporter by sources in Batticaloa. The discovery of the equipment only added to the growing apprehension in the east that Karuna and his supporters have come back with a bang in recent weeks and it also meant his supporters too are well armed.

Becoming assertive

The last two weeks have seen the Karuna faction making a concerted effort to make its presence felt in Batticaloa. "These guys have become very assertive," observed sources in Batticaloa.

Two weeks ago Karuna supporters succeeded in distributing posters and leaflets in Batticaloa. The publicity blitz drove home the point that despite the overwhelming presence of the LTTE in the east, Karuna could still make his presence felt. Karuna is attempting to use the ENDLF as a springboard. It was senior ENDLF member P. Rajarathnam who released the letter from Chennai. The designated secretary of Karuna's party, N. Ganaraja too has connections to the ENDLF. Civilians in Batticaloa told The Sunday Leader that they were nervous and feared for the worst if the confrontations continue.

The poster campaign ran parallel to Karuna releasing a statement condemning the murder of former MP Kingley Rasanayagam and his supporters in India writing to the Norwegian Prime Minister asking the Norwegians to move out of the peace process. The letter was ignored by the peace facilitators.

Not deterred

Such disregard however was not deterring Karuna supporters in the east. On Sunday night, the same day the STF recovered the night vision goggles Kandasamy Wasanthan (18) and Sevathamby Rajadorai were attacked in Earvur at the latter's home. Army headquarters later said that Rajadorai was operating under the alias Kunam and was a former member of the LTTE political wing.

"An 18-year old youngster (Wasanthan) employed at a video centre in the general area of Eravur has been gunned down by three suspected LTTE men, believed to be from a breakaway LTTE group," a release by the Defence Ministry said.

However, army sources in the east had a different story to relate. They said that the two were responsible for organising various events on behalf of the LTTE and had even carried out recruitment and in fact had been gunned down by the rival faction.

The confusion was nothing new given the state of affairs in the east. Civilians in Batticaloa confided that they were not sure whom to trust. Two abductions were reported by the army from Batticaloa, one in Earvur and another in Kotamadu. Both were blamed on the LTTE.

Confusion reigned supreme when Swiss national Hans Ulrich was murdered on Monday, October 25 night. Ulrich had settled in Batticaloa two years back after marrying a Tamil widow he had met at a hotel. A grenade was thrown at him while he was in the bathroom. He died upon admission to the Batticaloa hospital. From the moment the attack was reported, security forces, police and ceasefire monitors all said that it appeared to be a private issue outside the on-going Karuna-Pirapaharan tussle for control.

However, the day after the murder reports, including one wire service report originating from Colombo signaled the Tigers were behind the murder. The reason being that Ulrich had refused to comply with the LTTE taxes.

"They (Tigers) cannot be that stupid to kill a foreigner for that," reasoned out sources in Batticaloa. The LTTE too reacted strongly to the allegations. "This killing gains more significance in view of the victim being a Swiss national. This has been planned in such a way to portray the LTTE in bad light," the Tiger release said.

The Tigers have been critical of reports originating from the south and missive was anticipated. Two weeks back Political Wing Head S. P. Tamilselvan reacted to a wire service report that said that Tigers had agreed to consider government proposals all the way from Belgium.

No sooner had the Tigers done so, reports appeared in Colombo based newspapers saying that Sea Tiger Leader Soosai and Trincomalee Head Suwarnam had reneged. Soosai was to later travel to Kilinochchi and from there to Singapore for medical treatment. He returned to the Tiger administrative capital Kilinochchi last week and was greeted by his wife and children upon arrival.

Reports had earlier said that Soosai was staying away from Kilinochchi and hardening his stance from his Sea Tiger Base in Chalai, Mullaitivu.

Tamilselvan who led the delegation during the European tour did not return with the group last week. He along with the head of the LTTE Peace Secretariat Pulidevan and his deputy Selvy Karthikeyan were expected back during the weekend.

Close monitoring

"Irresponsible media reporting has been a bane in the politics of Sri Lanka, in that partisan reporting based on information furnished by interested parties without recourse to investigation, a cardinal ethic in journalism has contributed its fare share in fuelling this decades old conflict," a visibly peeved LTTEer said.

The LTTE had also complained to the SLMM that the army was building new bunkers at Allannkulam, near Valachchenai. An SLMM team that visited the area however returned with no evidence to prove the claim.

The army has been closely monitoring the situation in Allannkulam that lies about 2 km from the Habarana-Valachchenai main highway. There had been intelligence to suggest that the LTTE might move into the area and build a transit camp. Due to the fear, the army has been deploying more men in the area.

Search operations

The police and the army also carried out a cordon and search operation in Puttur, near Valachchenai on October 24. The operation was carried out after obtaining a court order and was aimed at locating LTTE safe-houses. The village had been identified as a nucleus for LTTE cadres operating in government held areas without the knowledge of the security forces or the SLMM. Security forces sources said they had information to indicate that the dreaded LTTE pistol gang was operating out of the village.

The operation in which around 100 police officers and an equal number of army troops took part however did not yield any suspects or weapons.

When senior LTTE leaders including Eastern Political Head Kaushalyan andJudicial Administration Head, E. Pararajasingham were crossing over from government held areas to Tiger held areas in Vavuniya, the army wanted to check the vehicles. The LTTEers refused and the refusal ensued a one hour delay. Ultimately, the LTTEers were allowed to pass without any checking.

Special visitor

The Human Right Commission office in Jaffna has also been informed by civilians that army officers at check points sometimes unnecessarily delay civilians in an effort to garner information about Kilinochchi and the LTTE.

This week however, Jaffna and Kilinochchi is expecting a special visitor, far removed from the diplomats who keep scurrying back and forth. Sri Lankan cricket star and UN ambassador Muttiah Muralitharan is expected to visit the north in a UN sponsored trip.


Waiting for budgetary relief

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

Sri Lankans who are trying to adjust to the high cost of living are now waiting for the presentation of the UPFA’s maiden budget, which is now in its finalisation stage, in anticipation of some relief from economic hardship.

The government for its part too has raised the hopes of people, promising the forthcoming budget would be a sunshine budget, which would be based on a national poverty alleviation and growth strategy providing relief for everyone.

What with "impressive" salary hikes for the public sector and relief for the poor through its "pro-poor" economic policy, the masses are waiting to reap the benefits of voting for a government which promised to bring down the cost of living.

Although the forthcoming budget is expected to provide relief to the masses at large, it is interesting to note that since assuming power in April, the government has increased various taxes, duties, prices of essential items and imposed tariffs.

Blaming it on oil

The increases however, have been attributed to the escalating global fuel prices, which it is claimed has resulted in a drain on the country’s foreign reserves and the depreciation of the rupee.

In a bid to arrest the situation and to increase the country’s revenue, the government while amending certain tax laws has also imposed new taxes.

Amendments to the Value Added Tax and the Inland Revenue (Regulation for Amnesty) are expected to increase the country’s revenue collection.

The increase in excise taxes pertaining to tobacco and liquor was imposed several weeks back and little or no time was wasted when the latest addition to the list, the excise (special provisions) duty for private cars and vans was introduced on October 15.

The duty, which was imposed on a sudden decision by the Treasury was formulated and imposed within a short period of three hours.

At the recent meeting between Treasury officials and donors, Treasury Secretary, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera noted that the government plans to transfer subsidies from the rich to the poor and taxes from poor to the rich to make it pro-poor, exercise a high tax effort to create fiscal space to finance development and reduce domestic borrowings to channel funds for the private sector as the needs of small and medium enterprises are equally important for pro-poor growth.

He further pointed out that the challenges faced by the country include a legacy of high fiscal deficits, which in turn has made little room for fiscal stimulus in the economy, medium term deficit correction strategy based on higher taxation effort, set back to growth and price stability by the drought and the difficulties in balance of payments due to the oil price hike.

Further price revisions

The government’s response to these as pointed out by Dr. Jayasundera, was the 30% price adjustment of domestic fuel prices, a sharp increase in motor vehicle duties, fare increases in transport and the electricity tariff increase.

As for price adjustments, postal, water and railway fare adjustments are in the pipeline and while the government is on an intensified revenue drive, restraint would also be practiced on operational expenditure including defence.

Be that as it may, the government in the forthcoming budget is expected to curb budgetary allocations for subsidies in its maiden budget. The government’s present subsidy scheme has come under fire from several parties, including the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) stating it is of no proper use as it benefits the needy as well as the affluent.

However, Sri Lanka is one rare country which functions on a dual subsidy.

People pay to the government what is in turn used to subsidise goods provided for them. While the masses pay taxes, the money in turn is used to pay for the increasing subsidy bills.

The JVP has also voiced concern over the country’s tax regime, which they say is also unfair as it applies to the rich and the poor alike.

As for the fuel subsidy, the government is expected to look at more strategic measures. However, it is also said that the public transport sector would not be subject to sudden price hikes in keeping with the increasing fuel prices, adding that the government would look at ways to minimise the impact of future fuel hikes in the sector.

Explaining the matter, Dr. Jayasundera told The Sunday Leader recently that where fuel subsidies are concerned, unlike the present system, the government through the next budget would look at providing relief for targeted sectors like the public transport sector.

As for the mechanism behind implementing a scheme to provide relief for the public transport sector, Dr. Jayasundera maintained the government would come up with the necessary measures in due course.


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