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* Sri Lankans spend 10 times of poverty alleviation funds for smoking, says Minister
Mon, Dec 24, 2012, 10:32 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka says the poverty cannot be eradicated in the country as long as people waste money for alcohol, smoking and drugs.

Addressing a meeting held in Avissawella, the Minister pointed out that according to Police Narcotics Bureau statistics, Rs. 7.6 billion is spent annually for cannabis.

He compared the amount to the Samurdhi poverty alleviation concessions that are worth of Rs. 8 billion per year.

The Minister said the people consume cannabis to a value equal to the Samurdhi poverty relief while the cost for heroin is double the amount. They drink alcohol six times the value of Samurdhi allowances and spend about10 times for smoking.

According to statistics, spending for heroin use in the country is Rs. 16 billion, legally sold alcohol Rs. 48 billion and smoking Rs. 78 billion.

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