Ratnapura Divisional Secretariat denies protesting residents’ charges

  • Says 28 out of 123 families given relief

  • 95 families to receive relief today

  • Kosgalawatta residents protest despite isolation

By Buddhika Samaraweera

Despite residents of the Kosgalawatta Grama Niladhari (GN) Division in the Ratnapura Divisional Secretariat, which is currently under Covid-19-related isolation status, having staged a protest alleging that they had not received the Rs. 5,000 allowance or any other relief from the Government, Ratnapura Divisional Secretary Pradeepika Illukkumbura said that steps have been taken to provide relief to many of these families on several occasions.

Speaking to The Morning, she said she had been instructed by the Ratnapura District Secretary to take necessary steps to provide relief to those who have not yet received relief.

“There are 123 families in the Kosgalawatta GN Division, out of which 28 families have been directed to quarantine due to several cases of Covid-19 infections. All 28 families that were directed to quarantine were given a relief package worth Rs. 10,000. In addition, after 14 days, five of the families were again given relief packages worth about Rs. 5,000,” she claimed.

Noting that it takes seven days from the date on which an area is designated as an isolated area to provide relief to residents in such areas, Illukkumbura observed that the relevant number of days was completed on 5 July. Accordingly, 95 families will be provided with relief packages worth Rs. 5,000 today (7), she said, adding that although they were to be distributed yesterday (6), it could not be done due to a Covid-19 vaccination programme held in the area.

Speaking further, she explained that in addition to the subsidies provided by the Government, steps have also been taken to direct certain subsidies received from private and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to the people of the said GN division.

On 5 July, members of at least 120 families residing in the Kosgalawatta GN Division held a protest alleging that they had not received any food relief or the Rs. 5,000 allowance from the Government. Protesters also claimed that most of the families in the area were daily wage earners and that they had lost their source of income due to the isolation situation in the area since 27 June.