President halts private sector involvement
By Chamara Amarasuriya
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to halt the involvement of the private sector in the return of Sri Lankans stranded abroad. The decision has been reportedly taken as the Intelligence unit has reported that general safety measures have not been followed while certain financial irregularities have also taken place.
The Intelligence unit has revealed that although those stranded abroad should be brought back in accordance to the established health guidelines, there has been a breach of the quarantine rules.
Although flights bringing Sri Lankan returnees are only permitted to operate at half capacity, it has also been revealed that these flights have operated at full capacity.
The Intelligence Unit has further revealed that although the relevant airline company obtains the price of two flight seats per individual, private entities that operate at full capacity had obtained profits by charging such prices.
Air ticket bookings too have taken place through travel agents associated with private entities, according to reports.
It has also been reported that this has been taking place since July and that the relevant private entities have also obtained the support of foreign Ambassadors in order to collect information on Sri Lankan returnees.
Additionally, although returnees who were in hotel quarantine facilities had to pay a sum of Rs 12,500 per person for the room and for food per day, two individuals have been put into one room for the same price and profits have been made while the Intelligence unit also reported about concerns of the quality of the food served to these returnees.