Missing Lankan President Rajapaksa back in action; orders gas distribution

Embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose location is still unknown since the protesters overran both his office and the official residence, has ordered officials to ensure the smooth distribution of cooking gas after the fuel-starved country received 3,700 metric tonnes of LP gas, his office said on Sunday.

In recent months people have been blocking roads across the country in a desperate bid to force the government to address the issue of acute gas shortages.

President Rajapaksa has instructed the officers to carry out the unloading and distribution of gas as the first ship arrives at Kerawalapitiya this afternoon. A second ship carrying 3,740 metric tonnes of gas is due on July 11 and a third carrying 3,200 metric tonnes of gas will arrive on July 15, according to Sri Lankan media.

A large gathering of protesters continue to occupy the president and prime minister’s iconic administrative buildings which also function as official residences. No major breaches of security reported on Sunday, the police said.

President Rajapaksa was not present in the presidential House when a mob stormed the building on Saturday.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials .

The country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, had announced in April that it is suspending nearly USD 7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about USD 25 billion due through 2026.

Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt stands at USD 51 billion.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practice the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

.

Leave a Comment