Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardana says the government allowed the import of rice as a response to the rice mafia.
Speaking at a media briefing today, the Minister said certain rice mill owners were engaged in efforts to inconvenience the government by imposing exorbitant prices on paddy and rice in order to raise the price of a kilogram of rice to Rs.300 by the Sinhala and Tamil New Year period.
The Trade Minister said the Cabinet of Ministers raised this concern and agreed that a stable price must be maintained for rice.
Therefore, the Minister claimed approval was granted for the importation of rice.
He stated that a kilogram of Nadu rice will not be allowed to be increased beyond Rs.105 and a kilogram of Samba rice will be maintained at Rs.130.
Meanwhile, the Minister said certain groups claim that the relief package is a mere façade.
Minister Gunawardana said 10kg of rice and 20 items are made available in the package at Rs.3,998.
He claimed that allegations are being levelled that only 444 Sathosa outlets are available.
The Minister said any individual can contact 1998 via phone for the relief package, which will be delivered within 48-hours.
Minister Bandula Gunawardana said he also placed an order for a package last morning via 1998 and received the goods in the evening.