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Repercussion of urban planning will be same as from expropriation, Daya Gamage warns

Chairman of Daya Group of Companies Daya Gamage warns that the government’s urban planning proposals will have serious repercussions to the country, similar to the ones being experienced as a result of the expropriation act hurriedly made into law recently

Also the national organizer of the UNP and the Eastern Provincial Council opposition leader, he issued the warning while speaking at the dealer convention 2012 of Daya Trading Company (Pvt.) Ltd. at Hotel Hilton in Colombo yesterday.

Mr. Gamage said the urban planning proposals would empower the government to categorize and take over any land, purportedly for development purposes, without the rightful owners having no recourse for redress.

The land thus acquired will then be given to cronies of the government, who will earn millions for themselves but nothing for the country, he said.

There is no meaning of challenging it in a court of law as the judges themselves are heavily intimidated and have to think about their families’ safety and are in fear of white van abductions and other state-sponsored terror tactics, he said.

Although being a patriotic Sri Lankan who does not want to take his problems out of the country, Mr. Gamage said there is no other option but to raise concerns of the local business fraternity before the ICC and the UN Human Rights Commission as the last resort.

This is also the case under the expropriation act, he said, noting that his Sevanagala Sugar factory was taken over under similar pretexts of public interest, but an obvious act of political revenge by the government against one of its opponents.

The factory has been given to CIC’s Keerthi Kogatagama, with whom the government is engaged in fertilizer business, Mr. Gamage went onto say.

The fertilizer subsidy has no meaning, since the CIC, which accounts for 30 per cent of the fertilizer supply, provides low-quality subsidized fertilizer which has resulted in a reduction in agricultural produce, he alleged.

Mr. Gamage explained in detail how he turned the Sevanagala sugar factory into a profit-earning one while increasing its production three-fold after buying it as the highest bidder in 2002, and overcoming many obstacles, including those from government politicians of the area who had given the fertilizer subsidy to sugarcane farmers to grow paddy and bananas instead, and made it a livelihood earner for thousands of families.

When the decision was taken to take over the factory, he said, he made representations even to the highest authority of the country despite well knowing the futility of the attempt and cautioned him about the grave effects to the national economy from the expropriation act, which have all come true today

The stock market has now collapsed, with only government cronies running it behind the scene amassing huge wealth while the average investor being at the receiving end, and the now state-acquired Sevanagala sugar factory unable to pay salaries of its workers and practically in ruins.

 He told the audience how he began his business in Ampara at the tender age of 16 years with just Rs. 70 in hand, overcame numerous challenges, including the loss by the time he reached 24 of his parents, his uncle who was the young ones’ guardians and the brother with whom he did the businesses.

 Mr. Gamage also cited just one example of a personal success story from among the more than 300 dealers of Daya Trading Company present on the occasion - an engineer who had utilized the money he had received from an assignment on a business venture and has today become a very successful businessman.

Group Director Chamindra Gamage made the launch introduction of Daya Trading Company’s latest sales products under the brand name DEME, which includes a range of household appliances

He said that Daya Group is basically based outside Colombo, since the focus is on rural community development.

The welcome speech was delivered by Daya Trading Company’s general manager Samantha Ratnayake.

At the award presentation, the dealers who have shown sales excellence on behalf of Daya Trading Company received awards, including overseas trips for key winners.

The most outstanding dealer’s gold award went to N. Premawassan of Kodikamam, Jaffna, while the silver and bronze awards were won by U.S.G. Malcolm Fernando of Rambukkana and K. Kariyawasam respectively.

They received their awards from the chief guest, UNP and opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in the presence of Mr. Daya Gamage and MP Dr. Mrs. Anoma Gamage.

The distinguished gathering present also included leading UNP politicians Tissa Attanayake, John Amaratunga, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, Gayantha Karunatile, Dr. Harsha de Silva and Ranjan Ramanayake.

Sunil Perera with Gypsies and the Kulasiri Budawatte dancing troupe made the event more colourful.

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