By Lakshman Kiriella –
My ref : MPI/3/1/2/Gen – 08
Mr. E.H. Van der Poorten
Halgolla 50 Acre Estate
Payment of subsidy for rubber producers in the Galagedara area on May 16th, 2015
Reference your undated letter addressed to me with the above title.
I have obtained a detailed report from the Director General of the Rubber Development Department on the contents of your above mentioned letter. According to the report provided by the Director General with relevant supporting documents, and the information I have gathered from the officers attended to the aforesaid function, I regret to inform you that the contents of your letter appears to be false, baseless, misleading and malicious.
Rubber Development Department has arranged 02 functions on 16th May at 9.30 AM at Hatharaliyadda and 11.30 AM at Galagedara. The primary function of these events was to educate rubber growers on the guaranteed price scheme. The meeting at Galagedara which you attended was scheduled to be held at 11.30 AM. I arrived there around 11.40 AM and therefore, it is absolutely incorrect to mention that I was two hours late. Further, Rubber Development Department has organized a training session for participants before my arrival, though your letter gives the impression that participants were made to wait long hours without any purpose until my presence.
There were 03 categories of participants invited for this programme.
Those who were qualified for the guaranteed price and to receive cheques.
Those who have applied but not get qualified due to various shortcomings in their applications.
Those who were invited to create awareness among rubber growers on the guaranteed price scheme.
According to the information available in the Rubber Development Department, you have been invited to attend this meeting as you come under the above second category. Although you have made an application on 30-04-2015 to receive guaranteed price concession with two invoices dated 25-03-2015 and 27-04-2015 for a total quantity of 716 kg, the Rubber Development Department officials have found that your land has not been registered with them, which is a mandatory requirement to be eligible for this payment. Then, the Rubber Development Department has taken prompt actions to conduct a preliminary inspection of your land and also to inform you to provide necessary documents for the registration, which you have failed to provide up to date. Accordingly, you have been invited for the event held in Galagedara to make you aware of the requirements and to complete the processing of the application if you provide the documents on that day, as all relevant officials were available at the event in your area. At no stage, any one from the Rubber Development Department has given you the hope that you would receive a cheque at the event.
Contrary to what you have mentioned in the letter, 173 cheques worth of around 3.7 million rupees were handed over to qualified rubber growers at this event. However, the Rubber Development Department acknowledges that 07 eligible farmers could not be granted cheques on that day due to a technical fault of the printing machine of the Accounts Division of the Regional Office. However, these farmers were also issued cheques on the next first working day.
I was also informed that many Rubber Development Department officials including the Director General and the Regional Deputy Director stayed at the premises after my departure to discuss with participants on their issues. It has been confirmed that you have not raised any issue in their presence. It suggests that your letter, which has been copied to media, is an attempt to give a wrong view about this programme, which has earned the confidence of rubber growers since its inception.
Please note that as the contents of your letter have been published in a news website, I am compelled to send a copy of this letter to the same website to make public aware of the actual situation pertaining to your allegations.
Lakshman Kiriella (M.P.)
Minister of Plantation Industries