Country needs national programme, not a National Government – Minister

Mahinda Amaraweera

This country does not need a National Government now but a national programme. Let us make use of professionals even now to rebuild the country, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

“It would be better if the mining industries like stone, sand, soil and gravel were left to the common people of this country and the politicians quit controlling them” he said. He said that when politicians leave the mining industry, officials can carry out their duties properly.

Amaraweera who is also the Senior Vice President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party said that he had directed officials not to grant permits for mining to politicians. “Now, applications do not come in, in the name of politicians.

Now they come in, in the name of either wives or children or their siblings. The most unfortunate thing in our country is if someone comes into politics, they try their best on how to get permits for rocks, sand and like or how to obtain a permit for a bar. If none of these are possible, they at least try to get a bus permit. This is done by all politicians from the top rank to the bottom.

Minister Amaraweera was addressing a workshop on earthquake and geological resource management on Sunday evening.

“When you consider countries of the world, everything that is number one comes from Sri Lanka. But I have been told on several occasions by foreigners that the people of Sri Lanka are like beggars standing on a treasure trove,”he said.

He added that there are vast resources in the country under the soil,underground. “Sri Lanka had a phosphate deposit that could last for hundreds of years.

Unfortunately, they are not being made use of now”, he said.

He added that the sand smugglers are very subtle now. Sand smugglers do not come to the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau now to obtain permits, when we imposed restrictions on the issuance of permits to mine. They go to the Jewellery Authority and obtain a permit for gem mining and then they dig the ground and use the sand they get from there.

“We are not in favour of setting up a national government. In Sri Lanka it has been proved that national governments are established only to share ministerial posts and not because of patriotism”, he said.

(Source: Daily News – By Nuwan Jayasekera and Rohana Ariyaratne)