Speaking to News Asela Sampath said that this increase follows the constant hike and fluctuation of rice prices in the market. He also requested President Maithripala Sirisena to mediate in the matter and direct an inspection on all the paddy stores.
"Not branding rice as an essential food item paves the way to this constant increase of rice prices. In the recent past, the government stocked rice and paddy at the Maththala airport saying that there is an excess of rice. The government purchased these stocks for a very cheap price of Rs.25 per kilo. Now the government is selling the very same stocks for Rs.80 per kilo. In a situation where we have to buy around 1.5 million kilos of rice per day for consumption, it is difficult to deal with the constant change in prices of rice. The price of a rice pack keep changing in the market. It is the black market that gets the advantage of these price fluctuations. Taking all these reasons into consideration, we have come to a conclusion that we should increase the price of a lunch packet," Sampath pointed out.
"The government does not have a proper plan to deal with these constant fluctuation in price. It has been proven from all the previous regimes that when the prices go high, they come up with a cabinet paper to import rice. When rice is imported, they are stored and let to rot. Now the Finance Minister is planing to do the same by importing 3 metric tons of rice as an answer to the price increase." Sampath explained.
Considering these understandings, our association has decided to increase the prices of morning,lunch and dinner packets by Rs.10 starting from today, Asela Sampath said.
"This increase is not done for a personal gain but as a warning signal to the government.
The government should take this warning in to consideration and come up with a plan to deal with the price increases and fluctuations.If you take Sathosa in to consideration, a kilo of rice is sold for Rs.74 where as in some super markets it is Rs.69. Where does the differences go to? It seems that the rice prices are meddled with as a way to defame President Maithripala Sirisena. So we request the President order an inspection to examine the paddy stores to find out how much paddy is stored hidden from the market." Sampath further said.
If the fluctuation in prices of rice come to a stop, the Canteen Owners' Association is ready to decrease the price of lunch packets as well, Asela Sampath added.