June 19, Colombo: Dudley Sirisena, Chairman of the Araliya Group and the President of Rice Millers Association said all rice varieties would be sold under the government approved controlled prices from today.
Addressing a media briefing held in Colombo Saturday, Dudley Sirisena said that despite the fuel crisis and rising packaging prices, rice would be released from today at the prices set by the government and urged other rice producers to do the same.
“Especially when the price of diesel has gone up by Rs. 250 compared to three months ago and the packaging price has gone up by 300% due to the shortage of raw materials, it is extremely difficult to release rice to the market at these (government controlled) prices,” he said.
“But as a local entrepreneur I decided to sell rice at government controlled prices during this difficult time, regardless of profits … so I urge large scale rice mill owners and businessmen to commit this time to the people affected,” he added.
Accordingly, a kilo of Nadu rice will be sold at Rs. 220, a kilo of samba at Rs. 230 and a kilo of keeri samba at Rs. 260, Dudley Sirisena said.
He said that diesel is needed to distribute the rice and that the government should facilitate the distribution.
Dudley Sirisena, a leading rice trader in the country rejected the statements made by some that he is stockpiling paddy.
He said that at present, the eight major rice millers have between 250,000 and 300,000 metric tons of rice and about 500,000 metric tons of rice in total can be found including the stocks in the possession of rich farmers’
Sirisena added that this stock of rice in the country will be sufficient for three months, if the people consume rice sparingly.
He also said that the power to control rice would be handed over to the people for three months. “Instead of reducing the number of meals for three months, we should reduce the amount of rice we eat at each meal,” he said.