The alcohol distillery being built in Kalkudah, Batticaloa by W.M. Mendis and Co is a story that News 1st has been reporting on frequently.
In case you have not been following the series of stories we have published, here is a quick recap of what has happened so far;
March 20, 2017 – We reported on how W.M. Mendis and Co is in the process of constructing an alcohol distillery in Kalkudah, Batticaloa. Our report also revealed links between the firm and Arjun Aloysius, who has been implicated by the Parliament Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in the Central Bank bond controversy. (Complete story: click here)
March 24 – A majority of the paddy stored in Mattala given to Liquor Manufacturer W M Mendis & Co. Ltd. (Complete story: click here)
March 27 – Who gave paddy to make liquor? – MP Yapa asks questions over Finance Ministry violations (Complete story: click here)
March 29 – When we made inquiries over the accusations, the Paddy Marketing Board said that 4,000 metric tonnes of paddy had been provided to W.M. Mendis and Co on three occasions, on cabinet approval. (Complete story: click here)
Tuesday, April 18 – TNA MP Sinnathamby Yogeshwaran had some harsh remarks on the proposed construction:
“We informed the Secretary of the Pradeshiya Sabha to stop this and he acted on it. A resolution was presented at the Eastern Provincial Council against it. This construction must be stopped. When the Secretary of the Pradeshiya Sabha has written to them on the matter, they have opposed it”, said Sinnathamby Yogeswaran (TNA MP)
According to the MP, equipment for the distillery has been imported to the country with no tax imposed on them. “UNP District Organisers Shashidharan and Jegan are deeply invested in this”, he added.
Yogeshwaran also revealed that the firm is making large donations to kovils in the area to prevent any attempts to stop the construction. He also said that even people have been given money to say that they do not oppose it.
“A letter was prepared by the Provincial Council addressed to the President calling for this construction to be stopped. However, Provincial Minister Thurai Rajasingham and Councilors Karunaharan and Krishnapillai have not signed that document. This is a disappointing situation …”, added the parliamentarian.
Meanwhile, W M Mendis & Co. Ltd has published newspaper advertisements in relation to the distillery. It says a factory to produce Ethyl, using corn, is to be constructed in the east.
“… Ethyl or Ethyl Alcohol or Ethanol are the same thing. In Chemical terms, these molecules are given the name based on the number of carbon atoms present”, pointed out Dr. Sarath Wanniarachchi, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Chemistry, University of Ruhuna.