- Questionable how the Premier, who is also the Minister of Buddhasasana could allow this especially during a sacred month in the Buddhist calendar
- Opposition Parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana expressed his displeasure in the House yesterday
By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
Moves by the Government and its Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Buddhasasana, to grant five top level liquor production licenses during the approaching Poson Poya period is outrageous, the Opposition criticized yesterday.
Opposition Parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana expressing his displeasure in the House yesterday condemned the Government’s attempt to offer five extra liquor manufacturing permits to five leading private sector companies, who were already engaged in the same industry for a long period.
The Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP making a submission drew the attention that how the country’s Premier, who is also the Minister of Finance cum Minister of Buddhasasana could allow something of that nature to take place, especially during a sacred period of Buddhist calendar, the Poson. MP Pathirana’s criticism came following the revelation made by the Excise Department Trade Unions in the last week of May that the Ministry of Finance was already in the process of granting approval to issue five large-scale liquor manufacturing licenses to several existing liquor industry giants. The TU’s pointed this out following Excise Commissioner General M J Gunasena admitting to the media last month that although they had received applications for liquor production licenses from five well-known manufacturers, they were yet to arrive at a decision to grant them such permits.
MP Pathirana said that according to the freshly gathered information, one out of the five licenses to be awarded was to produce the popular Japanese rice wine ‘Sake’, which was to be locally prepared not using rice but maize.