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Two VIP mill owners ruling paddy fields in Polonnaruwa

16 May 2012 02:48 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has in its inquiries found that two politically influential mill owners in the Polonnaruwa district have defaulted on the repayment of loans amounting to Rs.300 million borrowed from a state bank, it is learnt.

The loans had been obtained to purchase paddy from farmers in the area. The Bank had eventually written off this amount as bad debt.

These two mill owners who enjoy a major stake in the country’s paddy marketing industry have been used to obtain loans from the banking sector during harvesting times. This had been happening from the time Chandrika Banbaranaike Kumaratunga was President.

United National Party (UNP) MP Ravi Karunanayake raised the issue in Parliament last week. He said COPE examined some documents sent by this state bank giving details about those who defaulted on their loan repayments with the backing of political higher ups.

“We summoned the bank officials and they told about these matters when we were checking on loan outstandings,” Mr. Karunanayake who is a COPE member said.

According to official statements tabled in Parliament, the non-performing loans of the Bank of Ceylon and the bad debt of the People’s Bank had increased to Rs.170 billion by March this year while the total value of non-performing loans is as high at Lankaputhra Bank is as high as Rs.1.5 billion.

At present the Treasury has a method in place for the approval of loans for private traders and mill owners to purchase paddy from farmers. Meanwhile the Paddy Marketing Board is known to buy paddy at a guaranteed price.

Former Polonnaruwa District Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP S.K. Subasinghe said though there was a mechanism for the issue of loans, small mill owners are always at the receiving end.

“Leading mill owners enjoy a monopoly. Right at the beginning of harvesting, they obtain loans from state banks without any hassle. Then, they buy and hoard stocks. When small scale mill owners get loans after going through difficult formalities, there isn’t much paddy left to be procured from farmers. Leading mill owners also manipulate the prices by the use of devious methods,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)
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  Comments - 9

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  • Peoples Wednesday, 16 May 2012 10:29 AM

    In other countries when the government want to increase the consumption of rice or local produce, they reduce their prices.

    but in banana republics, they increase the prices and pocket more commissions.

    Political Illiterate Wednesday, 16 May 2012 11:04 AM

    Lanka, They can also protect the national banks to from people leaving them with bad debts!

    Calistus Jayatilleke Wednesday, 16 May 2012 11:21 AM

    What a twist in fortunes. When a small farmer defaults due to losses, only relief open to him is suicide, whilst the big mill owners (read Ministerial siblings) enjoy the best of both worlds by going on taking loans and defaulting, with impunity due to political backing.

    SM Wednesday, 16 May 2012 03:25 AM

    Why dont you guys ust give some names? Stop beating around the bush.

    Mifaz Wednesday, 16 May 2012 03:26 AM

    Everything clear on imposing of excess taxes and duties on ordinary public's consumption goods to cover up these. Finsing is this Govt. is crushing working public in the names of taxes for these goons survival.

    Andrew Adams Wednesday, 16 May 2012 03:39 AM

    NIP*NA samba is one of them. Then they go and buy star hotels with that money!

    sena Wednesday, 16 May 2012 09:46 PM

    Like a robber wearing a mask.

    Fusion Wednesday, 16 May 2012 05:39 AM

    some names please...

    lanka Wednesday, 16 May 2012 05:56 AM

    Then Why cant the Gov take action against them to protect local cultivation, rather than increasing price of commodities


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