07/23/2007, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Matale, women take to the streets against “high cost of living”

by Melani Manel Perera
The SAVISTHRI movement launches a campaign to protest against the increase in petrol and seed prices, as well as those of basic goods. A petition is sent off to the President to take “urgent measures”.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – About one thousand rural women last week gathered in Matale District and protested against the escalation of the cost of living , the country’s’ fallen agriculture and the importation of seeds from foreign countries which severely affects the crops utilizing indigenous seeds.

“ Bring down the price of essential food items ” , “ Bring down the price of fuel ” , “ Bring down the price of Milk Powder ” , “ Stop Immediately the importation of seeds from Malaysia ”  were some of Slogans shouted by the women protesters on their march to the Dambulla Economic Trade Centre.

Padma Pushpakanthi, The National Co-ordinator of ‘ SAVISTHRI’ Women’s organization underlines that “according to the government, the increase in the cost of electricity, water and telecommunication charges, prices of all kind of fuel including gas and even kerosene oil have been increased on several occasions adducing the price hike of such items in the world market and the war that is waging on in the North and the East as the reasons. The subsequent price hike in the transport charges and all the essential commodities including vegetables has placed a heavy burden on the people and have plunged them into a deep abyss”.

Some protestors made reference to the plight of the farmers; “the debts that farmers take and finally they commit suicide due to their inability to pay their loans”; young protesters also added their concerns regarding environmental damage and obstacles face by the youth regarding their livelihood. 

Padma Pushpakanthi further said that they will be going to handover a petition with the signatures of the participants of the protest campaign, to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, seeking remedial action to “bring down the cost of living”.

 

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