Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Mahinda Amaraweera claims that incidents of security officers on duty being attacked at filling stations have been reported. Speaking during the weekly Cabinet media briefing today, the Minister said such incidents must be thoroughly investigated.
When questioned by media on the videos circulating of security forces assaulting the public in fuel queues, the Minister said the government was not involved in such incidents nor does it condone such actions adding however that the Tr-Forces and the Police are responsible for ensuring the safety of the public and property.
He said if incidents at filling stations escalate, it could lead to a catastrophic situation. The Minister therefore said security forces have been deployed to ensure safety.
Minister Amaraweera said organised groups and underworld gangs have occupied filling stations adding that even though there is a shortage of fuel, large stocks of fuel are being located from various locations. The Co-Cabinet Spokesman added that videos circulating on social media only depict one side adding that attacks on security forces have not been documented.
He said an incident was reported where an Army officer was stabbed. The Minister claimed they received reports that the individual who was involved in the incident was allegedly engaged in a fuel racket.
Minister Amaraweera said necessary action must be taken against officials if found to have been acting against orders. Commenting on foreign aid and loans, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said USD 110 million is scheduled to be provided through the World Bank Financial Programme as concessionary loans.
He said the country benefits from obtaining concessionary loans rather than commercial loans. The Minister said the World Bank will be involved in evaluating how the funds will be used, adding they will be involved from the tender process.
Furthermore, the Minister said the World Food Programme is scheduled to provide 375,000 bags of urea fertiliser adding it will be provided to low-income families. He said further discussions are being held with other financial institutions including the Asian Development Bank in order to obtain further concessionary loans.
He said the government will take on the responsibility of providing the necessary fertiliser for the upcoming Maha season adding the government will utilise both organic and chemical fertilisers.