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Lanka SATHOSA Selling Raw Rice Even Below MRPS!

(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – Sri Lanka’s largest state owned retail chain store is now selling raw rice below the Maximum Retail Prices (MRP), on a new directive by the government-and also plans mobile rice sales units in populated street locations around the country.

“As the government owned retail store system, Lanka Sathosa can serve Lankan consumers better by giving the best price in the market. I am pleased that Lanka Sathosa under my Ministry is able to serve the decision of Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living, by starting to sell rice even below set MRPs” said a pleased Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.

Minister Bathiudeen who was in Kandy on March 01  with HE President Maithripala Sirisena, was in over the phone discussions with his Colombo based top Ministry officials and the newly appointed Chairman of Lanka Sathosa TMKB Thennakoon reviewing his Ministry’s new rice distribution plans guided by the decision of Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living on 28 February. Previously, as per Gazette Extraordinary 2006/52 issued on 17 February by CAA Chairman Hasitha Tilekarathna under Consumer Affairs Authority Act No 9 of 2003’s section 20(5), MRPs for Nadu, Raw Rice and Samba was set as: a kilo of imported Nadu rice is Rs 72, locally milled Nadu Rs 80, a kilo of imported Raw (Kekulu) rice is Rs 70 and locally milled Raw Rs 78, a kilo of imported Samba (excluding Keeri Samba and Suduru Samba) is Rs 80 and locally milled Samba (excluding Keeri Samba and Suduru Samba) at Rs 90 per kilo.

Accordingly, as per the Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living’s decision of 28 February, Lanka Sathosa from March 01 has started selling both white and red locally milled raw rice (Kekulu) at a maximum store price of Rs 76 per kilo (and in certain locations at Rs 75). The gazetted MRP of the same locally milled rice however stands at Rs 78 per kilo!

“Lanka Sathosa also has large rice stocks and all outlets are selling rice to consumers without any limits. From March 01 any amount of rice can be bought by consumers from all Lanka Sathosa outlets. Very soon, Lanka Sathosa shall start operating mobile sales units in lorries, placed at well populated street locations around the country, for bigger and better direct sales” stressed Minister Bathiudeen.

Meanwhile rice shortages that were prevalent across the country two weeks ago too have eased greatly. According to the data received by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) under Minister Bathiudeen on 2 March, ready availability of locally milled rice is abundantly seen everywhere across the country (at MRPs) while imported nadu and samba rices appear to have been sold out in the Provinces of Western, Southern, Sabaragamuwa, Northern, North Central, and North Western. But Central and Uva Provinces showed continued availability of such imported rice in their Districts.

The CAA also has stepped up raids of errant rice sellers across the country. In the 48 hours ending midnight of February 27, CAA netted 42,100 kilos of hoarded rice (by three different sellers/businesses) in the Pettah market that were stacked in 25 kg bags. Also 87 errant sellers across the country who violated rice MRPs were netted.

Consumers can now alert and complain of errant traders to CAA on hotline 1977 or even CAA direct lines 117755481-3.

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