Mar 26, Colombo: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as per the powers vested in the President under the Constitution, has appointed a Presidential Task Force to maintain the civilian life without any hindrance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Presidential Task Force was appointed to direct, coordinate and monitor the delivery of continuous services for the sustenance of overall community life, including the supply of food provisions produced in rural areas and producers direct to consumers giving priority to the Districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, Puttalam, Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu which have greater vulnerability in the eradication of coronavirus in Sri Lanka
President’s Special Envoy Basil Rajapaksa has been appointed as the Chairman of the Task Force while Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister Anton Perera serves as the Secretary.
The 40-member Task Force includes Provincial Governors, several Secretaries to Ministries, Commanders of Tri-Forces, security chiefs including Acting Inspector General of Police, Chairmen of several Departments, Corporations and Authorities and District and Divisional Secretaries.
The President had declared powers and functions of the Task Force through a special gazette notification.
The members of the Presidential Task Force are vested with the responsibility to direct, coordinate and monitor the delivery of continuous services for the sustenance of overall community life, including the supply of food provisions produced in rural areas and producers direct to consumers giving priority to the districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, Puttalam, Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu which have greater vulnerability in the eradication of coronavirus in Sri Lanka, and to execute the following tasks:
1. Provide facilities required by farmers for farming activities for the production of paddy, cereals, vegetables,
fruit, fish, meat, milk and eggs, as well as plantation products such as tea, cinnamon and pepper.
2. Organize and operate Lanka Sathosa, cooperative network, Cargills, Keells, Arpico and Laughs retail
network to supply agricultural products direct to customers.
3. Operate the distribution mechanism to supply farm products received at Economic Centers to customers in
those areas as well as in towns at household level.
4. Coordinate with Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka Customs, corporate Banking Sector and other
Government regulatory agencies and take necessary action to facilitate the import of essential foods and
drugs as well as the export of tea, sanitary clothing etc.
5. Provide fuel, security, banking assistance for transport of rice, coconuts, tea, animal feed, domestically
produced sanitary clothing and food.
6. Provide health and sanitation facilities to drivers and assistants of vehicles such as lorries, three-wheelers,
buses and motor cycles transporting essential services and goods to customers, and keep selected fuel
stations of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation open during curfew hours to supply them with fuel.
7. Direct and provide facilities to Agriculture Department, Agrarian Services Department, Samurdhi Authority,
Cooperative Farmer Societies, Farmer Organizations, and private seed production organizations to supply
seed, seedlings, fertilizer and machinery for farming activities.
8. Direct officials engaged in rural projects to encourage seed farms, popularize organic fertilizer use and
encourage production of home crops, and as far as possible, popularize home gardens as a supply for
9. Direct and take measures to provide required loan facilities to farmers via Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank,
Regional Development Banks and Samurdhi Bank branches.
10. Implement appropriate measures for waste disposal in rural and urban areas and maintain continuous
electricity and water supply services.
11. Take steps to focus special attention on women, low-income families and persons directly at risk when
undertaking above measures.
12. All bank branches to remain open for a minimum of 04 hours a day utilizing minimum staff to provide
essential banking services to customers.