Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Dr. Harsha De Silva speaking at Parliament on Tuesday (06) questioned the release of 18,000 tonnes of toxic fertiliser in October, 2020, by an order made by the Secretary to the President.
Responding to this query on Wednesday (07) Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage stated, "The previous government imported fertiliser in this manner. The Auditor General issued a report regarding the release of substandard fertiliser to the market. When I found out about this, I sent 8 people home from the Fertiliser Secretariat. When we found out about this, we changed the specifications to the original standard. No one is asking for a tender this time, because we did that. All these documents were brought by the previous government."
However, in this specific event on October 9, 2020, a letter was issued by P.B. Jayasundara, the Secretary to the President, and therefore, the issue was raised during the tenure of the current President, Dr. Silva added, emphasising that it was a serious offense to order the release of fertiliser to farmers despite the Standards Institution's confirmation that the stock contained heavy metals.
Minister Aluthgamage, unable to build up a counter argument, was seen avoiding the question and continuing to raise errors of the previous regime.