Sept 10, Colombo: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presided over a ceremony held Saturday in at the Samanala Grounds in Galle to hand over compensation of nearly Rs. 340 million to the tea smallholders of the Galle district affected by the recent floods.
Tea smallholders were the most affected by the floods in May of this year as many tea factories were destroyed. Seventeen tea factories have also been affected.
The government has selected 5,500 tea smallholders for compensation and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe handed over the relief checks ranging from Rs. 10,000 - 500,000 to the tea small holders yesterday (09).
The compensations were provided together with the Plantation Ministry under the 'Vavili Saviya Gamin Gamata' program.
Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister said the floods have caused massive destruction. Tea was the most affected crop while next in line was the rubber cultivation.
He said that at the moment the government is engaged in providing assistance to the tea smallholders and it has been decided to provide financial relief instead of fertilizer.
Earlier around Rs. 2.2 billion have been provided on fertilizer. Around 75-80 percent of this amount has been provided. The Premier further said that he has informed the Finance Minister to issue the remaining amount.
He also said that the UNP, SLFP, Muslim Congress and the Tamil parties in the up country and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) have joined hands not to become a single entity forever. The aim is not to inherit the debt burden to the next generation.
The Premier said that the people would say that the best thing is to work together until the next election. He also said that all must commit themselves for joint action to grant relief to the people. The Prime Minister requested the support of all in this endeavor.
Ministers Vajira Abeywardena, Chandima Weerakkody and Daya Gamage, Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal de Silva also participated at this occasion.