The Power tariff will not be increased for the consumers whose electricity usage does not exceed 60 units a month, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the massive UPFA May Day rally at Campbell Park yesterday.
The President also stressed that a percentage of relief would be introduced to the consumer who uses less than 180 units per month.
“Power tariff will not be increased for the consumers whose usage does not exceed 60 units a month, under any circumstance”, he said.
He said that the power tariff of the consumers who use up to 90 units will be given a relief by making 95 units the limit.
He said that he met trade unions and the people in many parts of the country and asked how they feel about the power tariff hike.
President Rajapaksa also said that those who are engaged in self employment would soon be able to obtain low interest loans.
He added that the Opposition has never been for the working masses of the country. “They are dancing according to the tune of the diaspora whose main objective is to divide the country at any cost,” he said.
“The Opposition which has a history of aiding and abetting the terrorists to divide the country has now started protests carrying candles”, he further said.
The President stressed that the Opposition which talks about the power tariff hike, lacked courage to begin the construction of the Upper Kotmale Project or Norochcholai Coal Power Plant.
The President said the Opposition was able to provide electricity to only 45 per cent of households in the country. “Many houses in rural areas were not provided electricity,” he said.
The President added that the government led by him provided electricity to over 95 per cent of households in the country.
The President recalled participating in May Day rallies as a student, a youth, Trade Unionist, Parliamentarian, Labour Minister, Opposition Leader, Prime Minister and the President.
He said yesterday’s rally was the largest ever held in the country. The President said the Government has to face a number of charges, as well as the commendation from many quarters, due to the eradication of terrorism in the country.
The President added that the Government was committed to the protection and promotion workers’ rights. He said that the Government was committed to the uplift of the living standards of the working masses.
“There was an era in the country where those passing out from universities staged massive protests demanding employment for their degrees,’ he said.
“Protests were seen at every May Day rally demanding jobs for graduates. The President said the government ensures employment for all graduates, once they leave the universities.
“There are no unemployed graduates in the country as the Government recruited over 100,000 graduates to the government service as nurses, teachers and other officials,” he said.
He added that the youth unrest which was presumed to be the main cause for youth insurrection in the country no longer exists.
Many State ventures established by the progressive governments in the 1960s and 1970s were sold without any consideration. President Rajapaksa added that the unemployment rate which was 25 per cent during the UNP era was brought down to a single digit of 4 percent by the UPFA Government.
He added that the UNP Government dismissed thousands of workers who took part in the 1980 July Strike demanding an increase of Rs. 10.
The President said many countries were affected by economic recession and food scarcity that swept across the world . “Sri Lanka remained resilient in the face of world economic recession and food scarcity, due to the programmss launched by the Government.
The President added that the Government for the first time consulted the Trade Unions and working masses for the preparation of the budget. “There was an era where only the IMF and WB representatives discussed the budget with the government”, he said.
He said the Government succeeded in maintaining industrial peace in the country.
He said that a circular has been issued by the Government directing all institutions to obtain the support of trade unions for the smooth function of such institutions. President Rajapaksa added that the Government increased the salaries of the working mass at every budget. He said the salaries of the private sector were increased by 35 per cent through the Salaries and Wages Boards.
“No where in the world are citizens of a country ensured free health and education facilities as is done in Sri Lanka,” the President said.
He said the members of the farming and fishing community receive unprecedented relief from the government.
The President added that the UNP government unleashed violence on intellectuals, such as, Prof Ediriweera Sarachchadra and Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera.
The President added that thousands of youth who were forcibly conscripted by the LTTE are working for the country’s development after been rehabilitated. He said thousands of youth representing all parts of the North participated in the May Day rally showing their dedication and commitment for the country’s development.