A former Fisheries Minister and UNP front-liner said yesterday that he was against the government`s 100 metre coastal buffer zone despite the UNP Deputy leader`s acceptance of the restriction.
Speaking during the adjournment debate in parliament on post-tsunami related issues, a defiant Mahinda Wijesekera said the 100 metre buffer zone was not practical.
`Mr. Karu Jayasuriya agreed to it at some committee meeting. But we were not present at the meting. I`m against it, and so is the UNP,` he said.
Citing government media reports that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had attempted to stop the flow of foreign aid, Mr. Wijesekera said, `If our leader did indeed stop foreign tsunami aid, we will decide whether to retain him in the post or not`, to the amusement of the MPs present.
Mr. Wijesekera also tabled a Rs. 5,000 cheque, which he said had bounced back. `This cheque issued by the government has been returned. I table this. You got millions of rupees, but you give cheques which bounce,` he said.
However, Justice Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said the Southern Provincial Council issued cheques to small scale businessmen to restart their tsunami-affected businesses. `If the businessmen supply false information, the cheque will bounce. That is what Mr. Wijesekera should know,` he said.
He assured that government cheques issued through the District Secretaries would not bounce. Social Services Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena said they had issued Rs. 10 million to each District Secretary.