Hon.Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Arjuna Ranatunga made a special inspection visit at the Hambantota MRMR Port much recently. The visit was aimed at streamlining the port activities and evaluation of the progress under the 100 day programme of the new government of His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena.
Expressing views at the occasion Hon.Minister stated that a close study is being conducted to unveil all recent corruptions reported to be occurred at the port sector. “It is apparent that SLPA has spent large sums of money on certain projects and we are in doubt whether these expenses were meaningful or appropriate. Presently, we are assessing the situation with a view to finding out where the responsibilities lie for any inappropriate handling of these projects as there are allegations. Our intention is to ensure transparency and develop the port sector in a way that will benefit the country. We will bring more Sri Lanka friendly investors and introduce programmes that will increase the revenue and help the national economy. Despite these drawbacks due to the past problems, we will continue the development process that has already utilized a very large sum of money so far. Exercising extreme care, our of development programme will move forward for the prosperity of the whole nation, “ the Minister said.
Hon.Minister also stated that a special committee headed by Hon.Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe has been appointed to probe into financial and other allegations related to the port sector and the committee will soon express its observations to the cabinet for final decision to take necessary legal actions against corrupted officials and politicians. He also said that the constructions of port city projects in Colombo and Hambantota will come under tight observation of the present government and any construction or activity that disturbed the national wellbeing would not be allowed at all. He assured that the present government would never allow casino and would assist develop the industry of travel and tour trade via port sector according to nationally identified measures and procedures.
Later the Minister also talked to the youths who were employed on contract basis at Hambantota MRMR port and extended an opportunity for formal discussions with their representatives during the coming week on several matters pertaining to the security of employments of youth engaged in the port sector both in Hambantota and Colombo. “No force would be allowed to destroy or misuse the youths of the country as the previous government did to fulfill the political greed of few corrupted politicians. We will take necessary precautions and measures to safeguard the employments of the youth in the port sector. We are looking into these matters with our fullest attention and it should be remembered that the present government would never let youth of the country to risk their employments,” Hon.Minister said.
He further said that no employee should engage in politics within the institution and all employees should equally contribute towards uplifting the institution through dedicated performance regardless political intervention. “During the recent past, only a handful of higher officials have been made to stand comfortable through the benefits and other conveniences and I am in doubt if the actual benefits of the port sector were accurately dispersed among the masses who were dedicatedly engaged to boost the glory of this institution. We have a question to resolve if the port employees actually received a satisfactory wage for their performance for the institution and we are taking these issues into thorough consideration to bring about a satisfactory solution from the side of the employees, “ the Minister added.
Mr.L.P.Jayampathi – Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Navigation, Dr.Lakdas Panagoda – Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority ( SLPA) Capt.Nihal Keppetipola – Managing Director of SLPA, Mrs.Shirani Wanniarachchi – Director (Finance) of SLPA, Mr.A.D.T.Gunasekara – Director (Technical) of SLPA, Mr.P.A.Agil Hewageegana – Director (Southern Port Dev.) of SLPA and Mr. Norman Weeraratne – General Manager of Hambantota MRMR Port also attended the occasion.