Defense Secretary denies acquisition of state sector institutions by military


Defense Secretary General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the driving license printing project taken over by the Army was a temporary measure following a cabinet decision to save state funds.

Responding to the media reports on Monday, General Gunaratne asserted that, “There is no acquisition of state sector institutions by the military as said”.

Further elaborating the process, General Gunaratne said, the other formalities of the Motor Traffic Department’s system remain unchanged and the Army is involved only in the printing process.

While reiterating that this is not a permanent initiative put forward by the government, he reasoned that, “The military has other engagements in executing its primary role and therefore, we direct them to reinforce the national security further”.

Meanwhile, responding to a recently triggered issue over Ukrainian tourists arrived on a safari tour, following a pilot project propelled to resume the tourism sector, the Defense Secretary explained, “There are grey areas to improve when we resume a work”.

“The revival of the tourism sector is vital since many Sri Lankans involved in the sector including hoteliers those have lost their source of income”, he reasoned, keeping hopes on COVID-19 vaccine that would arrive in the country in due course.

Further replying to the disputed issue of cremation of coronavirus victims, he said, “A clear decision would be taken by the government before long”.

Speaking to the media about throwing of banned items into the prison premises he said, “We have streamlined the prisons system so far. We also intensify the security in prisons further and plans are afoot to deploy experienced Jailors to run the system smoothly”.

“Not only the security, we have also looked into the facilities provided to the prisoners”, he noted.

While stating that “Upsurge of drug related remand prisoners was a result of intensified raids carried out by the law enforcing agencies”, the Defense Secretary said, “Among them those who received bail were youngsters addicted to the illegal drugs”.

They would be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, and it was the motive behind the bailing, Gen. Gunaratne reasoned.

The Defense Secretary reiterated, “The entire prison system in the country would be reformed”.

Responding to the magnitude of drug related operations being conducted amidst the pandemic, he said, “The law enforcement agencies continue to nab narcotics and it was proven with today’s (Jan 04) seizure of 104 kilos of ICE and 80 kilos of Hashish by the Sri Lanka Navy”.

The mechanism mooted to eradicate the drug menace is progressively continuing, Gen. Gunaratne said denoting, “Large quantities, in thousands, are not arriving in the island now”.