The Government hopes to take concrete action to control the Fall Army Worm(FAW) problem within the next week since the committee appointed by the President to investigate the problem is now working on it, Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said. Dissanayake said he too is a member of this committee.
The Minister said this fielding questions by the media when he opened Sanmik Food (Pvt) Ltd Desiccated Coconut Factory and Amp Dehydration Unit at Hiripitiyagama in Ipalogama in the Anuradhapura district recently.The factory set up at a cost of Rs. 700 million in an area outside the coconut triangle is expected to develop the desiccated coconut industry using new technology. It will provide direct employment to 150 persons and indirect employment to nearly 400 others. Furthermore, it would give a new orientation to coconut plantations in the North Central Province, provide a guaranteed price to coconut growers and help to improve the rural economy by providing various other benefits like infrastructure development.Minister Dissanayake said the Fall Army threat is posed to crops mostly in the dry zone. But later it may threaten wet zone crops like coconut too. As such discussions are being held with authorities at the Coconut Research Institute too on possible counter measures to prevent it affecting coconut and other related crops. Asked whether there were preparations to set up an American military base in Sri Lanka as alleged by Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekera, Minister Dissanayake said possibly he had got his wires mixed. Dissanayake said Jayasekara lost his Ministry post by supporting the No Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister when he (Dissanayake) himself advised him not to do so.Dissanayake said Cabinet approval had to be obtained for signing such a defence agreement. Such steps could not be taken secretly behind people’s backs. Asked for the truth about opposition allegations that the UNP is taking decisions according to the whims and fannies of Parliamentarian Sumanthiran Dissanayake, said the TNA as a whole is supporting the government in Parliament to get Finance bills passed. The TNA support was not intended to change the Constitution or do any damage to the country’s unity but for resolving certain urgent problems falling the Tamil people whom it represented. Asked about talks of a Presidential Elections and any UNP plans to field a common candidate, Dissanayake said as the National Organiser of the UNP his duty was only to join hands with the Party General Secretary, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and strengthen and gear the party to face any possible election due after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Dissanayake said however it’s too premature to talk about a candidate for the Presidential elections. Dissanayake said people like Vijayamuni Zoysa, Piyasena Gamage and A. H. M. Fowzie of the SLFP had made great sacrifices to support the government and they had recommended them for Ministry portfolios.