President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened Temple Trees to the public in 2004 and since then he invited people from all walks of life and offered them meals.
Public funds have never been used to offer meals for the people who visit Temple Trees, acting Cabinet spokesman and acting Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.
Addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Government Information Department yesterday, the acting minister said that the family of President Mahinda Rajapaksa always offered meals to people and he cannot stop his daily routine because of elections.
Various elections were held in the past from time to time. The President invites Cabinet Ministers, three wheel drivers, public servants, ordinary citizens, artistes, professionals and others for discussions for relevant events such as preparing the budget proposals, drafting policies etc and offer them meals but not a single meal had been offered using public funds.
According to the Acting Minister before 2004 the public was prohibited from entering Temple Trees. But now the Opposition accuses the President for offering meals to the public. This is purely finding reasons for the upcoming defeat at the LG polls. The UNP is now in pieces and the pieces too have been divided to other pieces. Without solving internal conflicts now the Opposition is searching reasons to present for their certain defeat of the LG polls. The Opposition had won many previous elections in the past where there were strong Governments. There are many examples for this. Now there is real UNP and duplicate UNP. So first of all the party should be united.
A full detailed report on all land dealings of the Government will be presented to Parliament on September 22. No violation of rules and regulations have been done by the government while dealing with State lands. Everything has been done according to government valuation rates. A website stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa offered lands at Ahungalla to his friends but no land has been given to anybody by the President. The JVP accused the government for offering State lands to the private sector but all those allegations are baseless and fabricated.
It is same with the road now being constructed close to Sinharaja forest. The 20 foot road was officially allocated by the government 20 years ago and used by people since then. It is now being constructed to cut down the distance of travelling from 39 kilometers to 12 kilometers. Now innocent poor people have to travel 39 kilometers but after constructing this road this will be reduced to only 10 or 12 kilometers to reach their destination. The road is not located in the Sinharaja forest.