Several reasons for my resignation: Jatal Mannapperuma

  • Paddy Marketing Board Chair quits with suggestive silence 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) Chairman Dr. Jatal Mannapperuma tendered his resignation from the post yesterday (15) citing “several reasons” for his decision, but refused to specify any reasons to the media. 

“No one would resign without a reason. There were several reasons for my resignation. I don’t like to talk about them to the media though,” he explained when The Morning contacted him.

Dr. Mannapperuma had handed over his resignation letter to Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage, becoming the latest in a series of recent resignations of top level Government officials in several sectors.

Our sources indicated that Dr. Mannapperuma was unhappy about several decisions taken by those above him with regard to the Agricultural sector and the current trajectory of the sector.

Ministry of Agriculture Secretary Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe-Mudalige was not available for comment.  

The PMB, which comes under the purview of the Agriculture Ministry, is mainly tasked with purchasing, selling, supplying and distributing paddy and rice, and milling, hulling and the processing of paddy and rice.

It has been reported recently that farmers in many parts of the country are refraining from selling paddy to the PMB as the Government had decided to purchase paddy at fixed prices. Also, private rice mill owners have reduced their purchases of paddy due to having to purchase them at fixed prices set by the Government.

Meanwhile, two other high ranking officials in the Ministry of Agriculture have, in the recent past, resigned within a short period of about seven months. The former Ministry of Agriculture Secretary, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Sumedha Perera resigned last February citing personal reasons and subsequently Rohana Pushpakumara was appointed to the post left vacant due to Perera’s resignation. However, after serving in the post for a short period of about four months, Pushpakumara also resigned from the post on 5 June 2021, after which Prof. Jayasinghe-Mudalige was appointed to the said position.

In addition, several other top level Government officials of other sectors recently resigned from their posts.

Recently, Ishini Wickremesinghe, who was the Director General of the National Zoological Gardens Department resigned from the said post and Senior Consultant Anaesthetist, Dr. Asoka Gunaratne, who is also an Executive Committee Member of the Association of Medical Specialists of Sri Lanka (AMS) resigned from the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 Technical Committee, which is tasked with making recommendations with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic control measures. This came in the wake of the resignation of Senior Consultant Physician at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama from the same Committee.