JVP behind farmer protests – Johnston

By Nabiya Vaffoor | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 21 2021
News JVP behind farmer protests – Johnston

By Nabiya Vaffoor

Highways Minister Johnston Fernando recently blamed the JVP for farmer protests. In response to a question by reporters in Colombo about the fertiliser shortage and farmers predicting famine, the Minister said it was the JVP who instigated the farmer protests after spreading lies. 

“The JVP is a party that has killed farmers and set fire to agrarian centres and tractors in the past. They are aware that farmers constitute a sizeable portion of our (Government’s) voter base. That is why they attempt to incite resentment between the Government and farmers. 

Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Hambantota, and Moneragala are the districts with some of the highest proportion of farmers and we received a large number of votes from those areas. Farmers in those districts are encouraged by the JVP and their supporters to burn effigies of Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. All of the effigies and posters are identical. That means they were created in a single location and then distributed. 

The JVP is the driving force behind these mudslinging campaigns,” he alleged. “The Opposition tries to instigate a crisis in order to survive. They used trade unionists to create panic buying by claiming a fuel shortage, but the public did not fall for it. People trust the President and our Government because they know we have not cheated or robbed banks like the Yahapalana government,” Fernando added. 

Speaking about the ongoing foreign exchange crisis, the Minister said that it was only a temporary situation that would change in the coming weeks. He claimed that the Government could not solve the problem as it has no recourse to print US dollars, but instead had to earn or save them. “We had to impose limits, which resulted in shortages and price increases of essential commodities. 

The problem is now being solved and any subsequent problems will be resolved in due course. The Opposition is working hard to make slogans out of this and gain political advantage, but they will fail,” he added. At this meeting, the Central Province Director of the Road Development Authority (RDA) informed the Minister that work on alternative routes, underpasses and overhead pedestrian bridges to alleviate traffic congestion in the Kandy City and its suburbs were nearing completion.

By Nabiya Vaffoor | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 21 2021

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