Easter attacks culprits: Civic Rights can be abolished, says President


The Government does not intend to interfere with the relevant investigative and judicial processes in the Easter attacks investigations, but if one demands quick action, the Government can present a piece of legislation in Parliament to abolish the Civic Rights of those who were found guilty by the Presidential Commission, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa asserted last night.

Addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony of the new state-of-the-art six lane Kelani Bridge ‘Golden Gate-Kalyani’ at Peliyagoda, President Rajapaksa said, “If that is what you request, we can make that happen as our Government possesses a two-thirds majority support in Parliament. The Presidential Commission found that the former President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet were responsible for not preventing the Easter attacks”.

A durable solution to the fuel crisis must be attained through the promotion of renewable energy, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. The President reminded that five per cent of the fuel imported to the country is wasted due to traffic congestion in the main cities.

“About US$ 200 million is wasted annually due to traffic congestion. This is while we are facing a problem of fuel imports. This crisis needs permanent solutions. The fuel import bill amounts to US$ 350 million for a month. The maximum we get from a month’s export earnings is US$ 1,000 million and 35 per cent of that money is spent on fuel imports,” the President remarked.

He added that 71 per cent of total fuel imports are used for vehicles, while power generation and industries use 21 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

“We do not have oil, coal or gas, but we have water, wind and sun light. Our Government is committed to achieve the target of supplying 70 per cent of the power requirement from renewable energy by 2030. We also need to promote electric vehicles. I was appointed to accomplish such challenging tasks. When we try to do these, the Opposition sabotages them with false propaganda,” the President noted.

Commenting on the organic farming policy the President said, “No previous Government held farmers in high esteem like we do. We, in our policy statement, mentioned that we will provide people with a non-toxic diet. This has been delayed due to COVID-19, inclement weather and lack of commitment by the officials, but the policy will be carried forward”.

Observing that the new Kelani Bridge is intended to ease traffic congestion near the Katunayake Airport Expressway, the President pointed out that the expressway network has helped spur economic development by connecting the main cities and remote villages.

The President also pledged that his Government would complete all projects undertaken by it if there is no Covid-related lockdown again in the next three years.