Army Commander General Shavendra Silva urged a group of hotel owners to give maximum possible relief to visitors who come from foreign countries by lowering the charges to undergo quarantine.
“I urge all of you to give them the maximum possible relief by lowering the charges at this critical moment in our history,” he said during a meeting with hotel owners, hoteliers and hotel executives on Tuesday.
The Commander also reiterated firmly that they should not, at all, give a single cent to any third party that facilitates bringing visitors to their hotels.
"No outsider, 'third party' or any, reaching you for accommodation on behalf of the overseas visitors in your hotels and for quarantine purposes, should be given a single cent to get such individuals or parties, as we have already managed to prevent some 'unscrupulous' elements that were resorting to such corrupt practices in the recent past after the second wave broke out," he said.
General Silva said that they would not hesitate or tolerate such practices at the expense of the Army's image since it is a credible organization with highest standards.
"What we want is to get those visitors a fair deal with decent meals, full care and accommodation at the lowest possible rate," he said. There were instances where 'interested parties' had approached the hoteliers in the past, but there is no room left now for any such practices," the Commander underlined and requested that such attempts should immediately be brought to the Army's notice.
"The Army does not have any personal agendas whatsoever and what we expect from you is the provision of decent meals and proper accommodation at reasonable rates to those checking in for quarantine purposes. If you all can further bring down those rates, it would be much better and I believe small hotels below 5-star level could certainly consider such reductions," he urged.
The whole of the quarantine mechanism has many facets such as screening, airport formalities, transport, selection of state or paid quarantine, passage of medical staff, security forces personnel and other health workers to such locations etc., is a daunting mechanism," the Commander said.
Providing telephone numbers and particulars of several responsible Senior Officers, engaged in quarantine operations, General Silva went on to quip, "If anyone is inconvenienced by the so-called 'third' parties pressurizing you by demanding money or bribes for facilitation for the tourists they bring to your hotels, please ensure you directly contact those nominated officers and inform them immediately with details. I reiterate firmly that you all should not, at all, give a single cent to any third party for this facilitation. We are very transparent and accountable for all what our organization fulfills on behalf of the public and there are no hidden agendas behind our well-defined practices. Neither our troops nor our coordinating officers of high integrity would resort to such practices and tarnish the image of this organization at all. Therefore, please ensure any information as regards 'Army involvement' in such malpractices be brought to our notice at the earliest, "General Silva emphasized.