The main opposition UNP called for an immediate pay hike for all public servants and the estate sector workers stating that prices of goods have increased even after the war.
UNP MP Gayantha Karunatilleke told a news conference yesterday that the prices of essential goods have increased even after the war. He said one Kg of sugar cost only Rs 62 during the height of the war when the LTTE leader was killed, but today it costs Rs 92. He said train season tickets had also gone up to Rs 1050 from Rs 300, while the electricity tariff had also increased by 300 percent.
Mr. Karunatilleke said the general public deserves concessions as they tightened their belts during the war while the government Ministers enjoyed various comforts without making any sacrifices.
The UNP MP explained that prices of some essential items such as fuel and gas were not reduced even after the price in the global market was reduced as a result of the global recession. The government did not even reduce the electricity tariff though the fuel prices were reduced.
He also charged that people who made such sacrifices during the war had been treated by giving them an extra burden through increased taxes. He said Rs 16 is charged as tax for one 1kg of sugar while Rs 25 is charged as tax for a kilo of potatoes. Rice is also subjected to an import tax of Rs 35 per kilo and Rs 125 for a kilo of milk powder.
He said gas too was subjected to the same scenario as the production cost for one cylinder came to only Rs 737 while it sold in the retail market at a price of more than Rs 1000. He recalled that the price was further increased last week. Mr. Karunatilleke said the result of the Southern Provincial Council elections would be decisive in such circumstance as the Southern people were always capable of taking the right decision. Those who live beyond the Bentara River were capable of taking right decisions and they would do so at the coming Provincial Council elections,