The Rajapaksa regime’s apathetic attitude towards the masses has been summed up perfectly in a speech made by UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva in the parliament, where has has highlighted the plight of farmers in backwoods villages who are struggling to make a living while the regime stages grand merriment in Colombo.
In his speech in the parliament on July 22, Dr. Harsha has remarked while the government has spent millions on renovating and the grand opening of the latest shopping mall in Colombo – the Independence Arcade – complete with fireworks, the flailing economic situation of the farmers in the Mahaweli zone has driven them to suicide.
“While Colombo’s rich enjoy hoppers priced at Rs. 200 each and designer goods that are for sale in this new mall, the poor farmers unable to deal with their debts due to damaged crops have consumed poison to escape the rising economic burdens,” MP Harsha told the parliament.
Quoting an article published in the Sunday Lankadeepa paper on June 20, he has quoted farmers who have complained about their crops being destroyed by floods as well as the lack of water following droughts during the past four kannayas (cultivating seasons).
He expressed concern over the water in irrigation tanks being channeled to large-scale agricultural ventures carried out by multinational companies to whom extensive plots of land have been handed over, which has left the farmers helpless without any water to nourish their crops.
He also spoke very critically of the lack of action by the government to face the challenges posed by changing weather patterns, despite several warnings given by government Ministers such as Champika Ranawaka themselves.