Predicting a bleak future for Sri Lanka, the government yesterday said the people would be called upon to face more hardship with the escalation in fighting between the security forces and the LTTE.
Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told the media that not only Sri Lanka but the entire world was struggling to come to terms with the soaring world market prices of fuel. The people must realize that they can t expect the same amount of subsidies when the price of a barrel of crude oil increases from US$ 25 to US$ 140. The government while prosecuting a war in the North has launched a huge development drive. It has started the Hambantota Harbour development project, Uma Oya multi irrigation development project, the Norochcholai coal power plant and many other development schemes all over the country. Oil prices have been increased 24 times in Australia in the recent past, Minister Abeywardana said.
He said he saw a hidden hand behind the emerging trend of numerous demands and trade union action.
Teachers, farmers, and public servants are out to place the government in a difficult position. The government is ready to face these challenges. That is why the government decided to dissolve the North-Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils. The government will show that it has the backing of the masses, the Minister said.
Commenting on the list, containing the names of media personnel under threat, said to have been sent to several diplomatic missions, he said the government never intimidated, threatened or harassed journalists at any time.
The government flatly rejects the suggestion of an impending threat by state on journalists. But there may be isolated incidents based on personal reasons. Overall there is no threat to any media personnel and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reiterated this during his recent visit to London, he emphasized.
Responding to a question raised by Daily Mirror, Minister Abeywardana said justice will be done for the victimized journalists and the Rupavahini incident would be settled amicably.
He said a new Media Centre to promote government s development programmes and disseminate correct information on defence and war would be set up by next month.