By Buddhika Samaraweera
Pointing out that it is the voice of the people that emerges from all quarters, including those who represent the Government and criticise certain government policies, State Minister of Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lanza said that such criticisms should not be underestimated.
Speaking to the media yesterday (9), he said that it is the responsibility of the people’s representatives to speak about the hardships of the people, even if they represent the Government. He said that as people’s representatives, they are saddened to see people queuing up to buy goods these days and that people should not have to wait in queues like that.
“Everyone has the right to express their ideas. However, all these are the voices of the people that emerge through them. So we should not underestimate it. Instead, such issues should be discussed at length with the Government. As people’s representatives we cannot be like blind and deaf people, especially when people are waiting in queues. I am ready to talk about those issues and even resign from the posts,” he said.
Lanza also said that in the current economic climate, his personal opinion is that the Government should go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or some other organisation and seek some relief. “What I say is we have to go to the IMF and we need to bring more investments into the country. If we do not do these things this year, we will not be able to get into the streets in the future.”
Emphasising that the country is facing a major crisis at the moment, he said that the Government should address those issues. Therefore, he said that they would work with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resolve these issues within this year.
“Especially, people are queuing up to buy things like milk powder and gas. Recently when I was returning from a trip, my sister texted me to bring a can of milk powder. So we see and hear the hardships of the people. We as a Government need to address these issues,” Lanza stated.
Claiming that most of the issues in the country at present are due to the deficit of US dollars in the country, Lanza said that a temporary solution should therefore be sought with the help of the IMF or another organisation.
Meanwhile, he said that the gazette notification issued to take over the lands in the Muthurajawela area by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) should be withdrawn immediately and if “some” parties do not listen to that request, he is ready to take to the streets against it with the people in the future.
“The gazette notification for the Muthurajawela land acquisition should be revoked immediately, but it has not happened yet. We are not the ones working to protect these posts. We are ready to leave the posts. We are making this request on behalf of the people, religious leaders, and the country. If some parties are not ready to listen to it, we are ready to rally with the people against them and even leave our posts to drive them out,” warned Lanza.