Guwahati News Desk: Sri Lanka on Tuesday declared a state of emergency over food shortages as the private banks ran out of foreign exchange to finance imports.
With Sri Lanka suffering a hard-hitting economic crisis, the country’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he ordered emergency regulations to counter the hoarding of sugar, rice and other essential foods items.
As per the sources, Rajapaksa has named a top army officer as “Commissioner General of Essential Services” to coordinate the supply of paddy, rice, sugar and other consumer goods.
The move further followed sharp price rises for sugar, rice, onions and potatoes, while long queues have formed outside stores because of shortages of milk powder, kerosene oil and cooking gas.
The government has also increased penalties for food hoarding, but the shortages come as the country of 21 million battles a fierce coronavirus wave, that has been claiming more than 200 lives a day.
In addition, even the Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila has also appealed to motorists to use fuel sparingly so that the country can use its foreign exchange to buy essential medicines and vaccines.
Moreover, a presidential aide has warned that fuel rationing may be introduced by the end of the year unless consumption was reduced.
Photo | AFP/ISHARA S KODIKARA