Lankans stranded abroad: Repatriation process highly suspicious – Harini

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 17 2020

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake

Jathika Jana Balawegaya Parliamentarian Dr. Harini Amarasuriya, on 13 November, claimed in Parliament that the manner in which the repatriation process of Sri Lankans, who are stranded in foreign countries, is conducted, is highly suspicious. 

Participating in the Adjournment Debate on the COVID-19 outbreak, Dr. Amarasuriya said that 95 deaths of Sri Lankans overseas have been reported thus far. 

“Many Sri Lankans in foreign countries are suffering due to the COVID-19 situation. The way the repatriation process is implemented to rescue them, is highly suspicious. We have to think about their well-being as they also are citizens of this country,” she pointed out. 

Dr. Amarasuriya also said that they cannot be satisfied with the relief measures available for the workers attached to the Board of Investments (BoI) factories who are currently living in boarding places and hostels. “There is a very questionable situation regarding the lack of food and relief services available for them. When I inquired about this from the BoI, they said that this was entirely under the Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga,” she added. 

“I have another question as well. Is the bag of goods really worth Rs 5,000? The bag contains one kilo of dhal, five kilos of rice, sprats and sugar.”

In response, Ranatunga said that the BoI workers do not get the essential pack worth Rs 5,000. They only get the essential pack given by the factories, he added. 

“I receive letters about the matter you’ve raised. The permanent BoI employees who cannot go home will receive their free food packages from their employer. As for the manpower staff, we are trying our best to provide essential items through the Divisional Secretariats. In addition to that, pregnant mothers will receive two essential goods packages as well,” Ranatunga said.

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 17 2020

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