March, 08 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is looking for at least two more cargo vessels and was talking to the World Food Program to charter a large cargo aircraft to build a buffer stock of food in the Jaffna peninsular, an official said. “We want to charter two more ships, but foreign shipping companies are asking for exorbitant insurance risk premiums,” Commission General of Essential Services S B Divaratne told reporters.
“They also want us to pay for six months up front.”
The government is now using five ships from three parties to ferry food to the Jaffna peninsular.
Divaratne said the government had carried 81,345 metric tonnes of essential items to Jaffna by ship in 34 voyages from August last year since the main highway to the northern peninsular was closed .
Now 523 co-operative outlets, 31 shops operated by the military and 481 registered retailers were issued goods on the undertaking that they would be sold at specified prices.
Though private traders had been invited to take goods, four traders who had used the facility were selling them at much higher prices, and the government had decided yesterday they would also have to sell through the distribution network because the people were being ‘fleeced’,