JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake speaking in Kuruwita, Ratnapura on Saturday alleged that an unnecessary fear psychosis prevailed in the South, but people in the North would never leave any room for a return to violence.
He said this by addressing a gathering of scholars on the theme "People’s Government for the protection and development of the country".
Here are some excerpts of his speech, “We should understand that Ranil and Basil no longer have a right to speak about what is good for the country. In the past 70 years, the United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party ( SLFP) have proved that they do not have a plan to develop the country. Ranil says that it would take him about 32 years to develop the country. However, it is doubtful whether he would even be alive then as he is now 70 years old. Mahinda, who was in power about 10 years is asking for another term in order to turn the country into a developed nation. These two parties together have proved that they don't know what they are doing when it comes to developing the country".
Mr. Dissanayake said that their party had requested scholars in various fields for their input on what needs to be done in order to bring about development in the country. According to him these scholars were looking at the problems faced by the country from a new point of view and the development of a country cannot take place by building concrete jungles. People’s living standards should be taken care of in order to do this.
According to him, 52% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been allocated for the development of the Western Province while only a slim 4% is allocated for the development of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Districts in the North Central Province which is the agricultural heartland of the country from where the prosperity should begin. Instead of uplifting the rural economy these areas are made to endure many economic hardships. Loan providing institutions, many of whom operate from the Western Province, come to the villages with stories of success and give the poor farmers of these areas loans at 48% interest. The people are exploited by them. The interest is not charged on diminishing balance and in the end they end up paying 300 % interest thereby leaving them with no profits and sometimes this ends in suicide.
He added, “It is the businessmen that are most sought after when it comes to marriage. No one advertises himself as a young farmer when looking for a bride. In 2016, 3200 suicides have been reported in the country while 30,000 people have been rescued while attempting to commit suicide. Sri Lanka is placed fourth when it comes to suicides. This is a frightening statistic which shows just how helpless these people have become. he said.(Ajith Lal Shantha Udaya)