- The President took the initiative to safeguard over 50,000 of our farmers as well as over 5,000 employees working in the two sugar mills
By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
Many quarters of society have raised grave concerns over the possible relaxation of Government’s ban on Ethanol imports owing to the heavy pressure inflicted upon by several leading private liquor manufacturers in the country.
Since the government’s decision to prohibit the import of Ethanol, being one of the tough decisions by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime against the billion rupee tax revenue-generating industry, to uphold the local sugar cane producers, the concerned parties now express fear of the authorities reversing its decision. This comes in the wake of Government reiterating its stance on not allowing any Ethanol imports in the future unless there’s a real scarcity of the product for the local liquor production.
A large group of sugarcane factory workers of Sevanagala and Pelawatta sugar mills as well as sugarcane growers led by several industry trade unions conducted a demonstration in Embilipitiya on Saturday demanding the government to stick to its policy of not letting any Ethanol products be imported henceforth. Former State Minister of Export Agriculture Janaka Wakkumbura who took part in the protest assured that by all means the people depending on the local sugar industry will not allow the government to reverse the decision on the ban on Ethanol saying 6.9 million cast their vote for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to uplift the local industries. “Safeguarding the local industries was one of the prominent policies of President Rajapaksa that people cast their vote for. We therefore, as public representatives will not let any unseen forces to inflict pressure on the government to revoke this decision just because they throw stacks of cash,” former MP Wakkumbura said. Sevanagala Sugarcane Farmers’ Bala Mandala President D. B. Jayathilake expressing his protest said the moves by the previous regime had destroyed the local sugar industry and its by-product Ethanol.