ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Ministry Secretary Prof Udith K Jayasinghe has been replaced by D M L D Bandaranayake, the fifth person to take the position in just two years, the fourth in 2021.
The President’s Media Division (PMD) announced the appointment on Wednesday (22), along with that of Anusha Palpita as Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media.
Prof Jayasinghe’s dismissal came barely a day after a controversial statement he had made to the media about what to do in the event of a food shortage.
“If there is a food shortage coming, before young people, people like pregnant women, children and the unwell who absolutely need more sustenance ought to be prioritised.
“As scientists, we are for a programme where milk and essential food are [prioritised], and people who tend to eat more may perhaps sacrifice a little and stop consuming imported foods like apples and oranges,” he said.
Jayasinghe, who was Vice Chancellor at the Wayamba University prior to his appointment as agriculture ministry secretary in June, acknowledged that there may be some shortages, which the authorities are discussing “all day” in an effort to resolve.
“We do not wish to cover up the issue and offer deceptive answers,” he added.
The privately owned NewsFirst network reported on Wednesday evening that Prof Jayasinghe has only been informed verbally of his removal.
Speaking the truth was a possible reason for his dismissal, NewsFirst quoted Jayasinghe as saying. He had also had a feeling that Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage was unaware of the decision, he was further quoted as saying.
Education Secretary of the Frontline Socialist Party Pubudu Jayagoda compared Jayasinghe’s dismissal to turning the alarm off in the event of a fire.
“When a fire alarm goes off, one must wake up and douse the fire. What the government is doing is just turning off the alarm,” he said. (Colombo/Dec22/2021)