?No organization can have a separate army in a Unitary State, other than the legitimate government of a country. Similarly, it is illegal, and morally wrong, for any group or organization to levy separate taxes from a section of the people,? said the Minister of Agriculture, Buddha Sasana, Public Security, Law and Order and Deputy Minister of Defence Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, when he addressed a meeting of the delegates of the Beruwala SLFP Bala Mandalaya, held in support of presidential candidate Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse recently.
The Minister said ?it is most unreasonable for a certain section to go to any part of the country as they wish, while nobody can travel to the territory they are occupying forcibly. This is a contradictory situation the country faces under the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA).?
He said ?there are good and bad provisions in the CFA. We should eliminate the drawbacks by amending the agreement. The previous government, when they entered into the agreement, did not seriously consider these defects. We cannot allow the division of the country. We should solve all our prob1ems under a united Sri Lanka.`
Speaking further, the Minister said that they had started a long-term programme to solve the problems of the farmers. ?Doing patchwork to problems would not suffice. We will shortly set up a separate Authority to purchase paddy and other crops such as vegetab1es, fruits and cereals. For this purpose we need to set up a good transport system and a chain of food stores.?
`We will not insult the farmers as the UNP does. The rural masses and the urban population have always been with the SLFP. The special feature of this election is that there is no `manape` (preference votes) and victory for us is a foregone conclusion,` the Minister said.Continuing, the Minister said that the programme to develop and restore irrigation tanks is proceeding successfully. ?If there is no proper planning, no programme could be a success. When I was the Minister of Plantation Industries, we were able to launch a new concept under the `Tea Shakthi` Programme, to assist tea smallholders, which was highly successful and commended by the World Bank as well,? the Minister added.