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Sunday, 18 January 2015

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Good governance and livelihood development, our aim - Minister M.K.D.S Gunawardena

Good governance and livelihood development are the prime focus of the new Government. Those involved in bribery, corruption and robbery will be taken to task not withstanding their position or status, Land and Land Development Minister M.K.D.S. Gunawardena told the Sunday Observer.

Excerpts of the interview

Q: Economic reforms are vital to improve the lives of people. What economic reforms do you hope to introduce?

A: We hope to provide concessions and reduce the prices of essential commodities. Taxes will be reduced to provide relief to consumer. The Government employees will be given a Rs. 5,000 increment until. We will fulfill all the pledges we made under the 100- day program.

We hope to work with the minority communities and will not sling mud on others. The focus will be on reducing the cost of living burden of people.

Nearly 70 percent people of this country depend on agriculture. The new Government will give priority to improve the agriculture sector.

Agricultural products will be given a reasonable price. Steps will be taken to improve the living standards of farmers.

Implementation of law and order will be assured. There will be no room for discrimination.

Alleged murderers, robbers and those who breach the law will be severely dealt with. Nobody will be allowed to obstruct the police from discharging their duty.

Q: What action does the new Government hopes to take against bribery and corruption?

A: If those who have taken bribes and being corrupt are proved legal action will be taken against them. Punishment will be meted out against those who exploited public property. We will not hesitate to punish wrong doers.

Q: Does the new Government plan to go for parliamentary polls in the near future?

A: The new Government will take into account the fulfilling the 100 day program and certain parliamentarians completing five years on April 8, 2015. According to parliamentary regulations a member is entitle to pension only when he or she completes five years. We are ready to go for polls at any time.

Q: During his address to the nation President Maithripala Sirisena said that he will not contest for the second term. What are your view about this statement?

A: The statement made by the new President shows his honesty and the patriotism. He came to power to serve the people. Eventhough he made such a statement, the country needs his service.

It will take time to put the country back on track.

Q: Will the development projects launched by the previous government be implemented by the new Government?

A: All important development projects launched by the previous Government will be implemented. The projects which are not suitable for the country will be scraped.

Q: What are your plans to solve the landless problem of people?

A: Steps will be taken to solve the landless problem of people without causing harm to structures. Natural resources will be protected. The land should be suitable for human settlement and cultivation.

Land belonging to the Government have been forcibly occupied by certain people. Steps will be taken to evacuate them from those places. Inquiries will be made on those who reside in Government lands without permission.

The Land policy of this country has been drafted in manner to benefit the imperialists. The advice of experts will be obtained to formulate a land policy suitable to the country.

Q: Can you tell us the reason for the victory of the new democratic front and the role of minorities in the country?

A: The minority communities such as Tamils and Muslims in the North, East, Central and other parts of the country extended their fullest support to the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena.

This election can be considered one that the minority community supported a candidate of the majority community.

The minority community became the stakeholders of the victory of President Maithripala Sirisena.

Jathika Hela Urumaya, Democratic Party Leader General Sarath Fonseka, All Ceylon Muslim Congress, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, TNA and the National Union of workers extended their fullest support for the common candidate.

Q: Can you elaborate challenges you faced during the election campaign?

A: I was not threatened even over the phone or by any individuals. We were not discouraged by any factor and we ensured the victory of President Maithripala Sirisena.

We had the e blessing of Buddhist Priests and leaders of other communities.

 

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