05/17/2022, 12.28
SRI LANKA
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Students publish 13 solutions to crisis as fuel supplies run dry

by Melani Manel Perera

The new prime minister said he was forced to print money to pay civil servants. However, the manoeuvre will lead to the depreciation of the rupee. The Inter-University Student Federation demands not only the resignation of the government, but a new political system.

 

 

Colombo (AsiaNews) - More than a month has passed since the start of anti-government protests in Sri Lanka. Today the new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that the country has run out of fuel stocks: from tomorrow diesel and petrol supplies will be thanks to a line of credit granted by India.

The premier added that the island nation needs at least USD 75 million to pay for imports of essential goods. State employees will be paid through the Central Bank's cash injection, "which will, however, lead to the depreciation of the rupee," the prime minister admonished 

The Inter-University Students' Federation (Iusf), a confederation of student unions, drafted a document in Sinhala and Tamil entitled 'Solutions to the current crisis': 13 proposals to the government to help the people.

The tabling of the resolution was attended by the main opposition party, the Samagi Janabalawegaya, the Tamil National Alliance, the United Socialist Party, as well as several secular and religious people.

The Iusf not only demands the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the entire government, but a 'system change'. Among the proposals put forward are the complete abolition of the presidency, the drafting of a new constitution, a stop to privatisation processes, the formation of a commission of enquiry and the implementation of an aid programme for the population. 

Iusf President Wasantha Mudalige said that so far 'there has been no benefit for the people, because power has been transferred from one party to the other by politicians who have been stealing the wealth of the people for years'. All those responsible should resign, he added, while a people's commission will take the necessary measures to recover the squandered public money.

Wasantha went on to accuse companies close to the government that have been enriching themselves in recent years: 'While the executive says they do not have the dollars we need, some parents have committed suicide because they do not have the money to buy medicine for their children'.

Commenting on the Iusf proposals, MP Shanakiya Rasamanickiam highlighted the need for a power-sharing system that also includes Tamils. In contrast, the leader of the United Socialist Party, Siritunga Jayasuriya, said that "we will start by ousting the Gotabhaya government and take steps to crush this capitalist regime and form a revolutionary government of the people". 

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