Sri Lankan President to meet fresh produce traders over transport crisis

Dec 14, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to meet the vegetable and fruit traders today to resolve the current crisis due to the government’s mandatory requirement to use plastic containers to transport fresh produce, government sources said.

The national news agency Lankapuvath, citing sources, said the President has expressed grave concern over the crisis and intends to resolve the issue through discussions with the traders.

Meanwhile, the traders at the Manning market, the main fruit and vegetable market in Colombo poured out to the streets for a second day to protest the government’s requirement creating traffic heavy traffic jams in the city center.

The traders have held a meeting this morning at the Manning Market before embarking onto the city street to protest, police said.

The island wide protests by farmers and the transporters yesterday paralyzed the fresh produce trade resulting in scarcity in the markets.

The police had to use tear gas to disperse angry protesters, who have pelted stones at the police injuring some policemen as well as protesters and damaging two police vehicles. The police have arrested 28 protesters.

The protests were staged after the police and Consumer Affairs Authority officials conducted raids at entry points to the Colombo city and detained 40 lorries transporting vegetables and fruits in gunny bags.

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