State assets to build SLFP hq.
Basil, Jeyaraj hold top level meeting to raise funds and prepare for polls
Heads of state corporations and statutory boards have been called upon to dispose idle assets and contribute to complete the Sri Lanka Freedom Party headquarters in Battaramulla amidst opening of an Elections Office at Temple Trees and preparations for polls.
The instructions were given during a meeting Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa and Senior Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle held with the heads at the Presidential Secretariat recently.According to a copy of the minutes seen by The Sunday Times, a number of other issues including measures to protect President Mahinda Rajapaksa against unwarranted allegations were discussed.
The heads of corporations and statutory boards have been told that they should visit the Elections Office and get involved in Government's organizational activities. At least officially, the Government has declared there would be no parliamentary general elections until 2010. However, the Government has declared that local council elections will be held soon in the east. This is particularly in the light of Government claims that the entirety of the East has now been cleared.
Though a foundation stone was laid in Battaramulla for a new headquarters building for the SLFP, the project has been dogged by many problems. Soon after the foundation was laid, a plaque commemorating the event went missing. Work slowed down after the party was unable to raise the Rs 100 million required to complete construction work.
One instance where scrap metal lying at the Kantale Sugar factory was to be sold and proceeds given to the SLFP was related by the Chairman of the state venture, K.D.S. Gunawardena. He said Ministry of Agriculture approval was being awaited for the sale. Government Regulations prohibit the funds from the sale of Government property being diverted outside.
JVP Trincomalee district parliamentarian Jayantha Wijesekera said the Kantale Sugar factory was acquired during the time of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.
He said the Treasury was paying the salary of 95 workers and was meeting maintenance costs though there was no output.
Minister Fernandopulle, who is now the Treasurer of the SLFP and government spokesman, had said it was one of his priorities to raise funds for the completion of the party headquarters. An official of the Land Reclamation and Development Board said they would approach private sector enterprises with whom they worked closely for donations.The heads of corporations and statutory bodies were also told by Mr. Fernandopulle that they should respond to adverse news reports. In this regard, they have been told that the Rupavahini has been playing a major role to counter any adverse publicity.
Mr. Fernandopulle said corporations and statutory bodies should also give wide publicity to their own development work.
The meeting will become a regular monthly feature, according to a decision reached.