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* Sri Lanka opposition parties plan massive agitation against rate hikes in public services
Sun, Mar 31, 2013, 10:38 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 31, Colombo: Opposition political parties in Sri Lanka are planning a massive protest campaign against anticipated rate hikes in public services ahead of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festive season, local media reports say.

The Marxist party of Sri Lanka, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) plans to launch a massive campaign against anticipated price hikes in electricity, railway and bus fares this week, Information Secretary of the JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath has told the media.

The protest campaigns will commence on April 2 in Dambulla and Embilipitiya. Protest campaigns in Galle, Matara and Colombo will follow the campaigns in Gampaha and Yakkala on April 3.

Speaking to media, the JVP MP has said that the economic burden for the people is progressively becoming heavier and the public is finding it increasingly difficult to bear the burden.

"Prices of essential items have skyrocketed and the cost of living has gone up in a big way," he has said.

"Even though trade unions have started demanding a salary hike, given the increasing cost of living, instead of listening to their woes, the government has increased the prices of essential items with no respect for the ordinary masses. Even the farmers are finding it difficult to sell their produce for the prices they expect, as a result of the increasing cost of living," he was quoted as saying.

The Media spokesperson of the main Opposition United National Party (UNP), Gayantha Karunatilaka has said that his party is also making arrangements to launch protest campaigns against the increasing cost of living.

The UNP protests are to be launched in the main cities of the island from the first week of May.

Meanwhile, Private Bus Owners Associations say that if they do not receive a positive response from the authorities to raise bus fares by Monday they will launch a strike during the New Year season.

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