Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday agreed in Parliament that the demands of the disabled War Heroes who staged a Sathyagraha opposite the Fort Railway Station were reasonable and said that the government was in the process of solving the issue.
The Minister explained that the proposals had been sent to the Defence Ministry for their recommendations regarding the grant of a 100 percent pension and 75 percent pension to the fully and partially disabled War Heroes respectively at their retirement and the Defence Ministry has responded to it. He added that hence the issue would be solved without delay.
He made these observations in response to a query made by Chief Opposition Whip Mahinda Amaraweera as to whether the government would solve the pension issue of the War Heroes who were rendered disabled during the operation against the LTTE terrorists.
When MP Amaraweera requested Minister Samaraweera, he said that he would not meet those who went on streets to protest. “I will solve this issue,” Minister Samaraweera said. “It is not my policy to meet them on streets.Steps have been taken to solve the matter.” He further said that he initiated a solution to the matter one and half months ago, when a few of the War Heroes had come to meet him at his residence in Matara.
“I understood that their demand was reasonable and I took the initiative to solve the issue by raising the matter at a Cabinet meeting,” Minister Samaraweera said. “Some members of a political party who came to know that the government was taking measures to solve the issue brought the War Heroes on to the streets. I am not ready meet them there.”
When Jayantha Samaraweera queried if the relatives of War Heroes who made the supreme sacrifice would get the same benefit, Minister Samaraweera said that the issue of disabled War Heroes would be solved.
(Source: Daily News – By Sandasen Marasinghe and Camelia Nathganiel)