The program to distribute free rice to 2.9 million low-income families has commenced yesterday (March 26) in the Colombo District under the patronage of President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake.
The program was carried out with a focus on the Dematagoda, Narahenpita, and Wellawatta areas, which fall under the Thimbirigasaya Divisional Secretariat Division, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.
As part of the program, 995 recipients have received bags of rice at the Mihidusenpura Community Hall in Dematagoda, 448 recipients received rice at the Dabare Mawatha Community Hall in Narahenpita, and 169 recipients were given rice at the Ranjan Wijeratnapura Community Hall in Wellawatta, the PMD reported.
The distribution of free rice to low-income families for two months is part of the government’s 2022/2023 Maha season rice purchase and rice stock disposal program, which was implemented on the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Each family will receive 10 kg of rice per month during this period.
Initially, the rice subsidy was intended for 2 million families, but it was later expanded to 2.9 million families as per the directives of the President. The program’s first phase will be rolled out in several districts, including Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Ratnapura, Galle, and Matara, according to the PMD.
Addressing the program held at the Mihidusenpura Community Hall in Dematagoda, Sagala Ratnayake explained how Sri Lanka was able to turn a corner during a difficult period with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Sagala Ratnayake emphasized that the country had faced an economic crisis due to wrong decisions made in the past, but now under the leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the country is following a more appropriate economic program, it added.
During the event, Mr. Ratnayake interacted with the attendees and listened to some of the issues they were facing.