As per the powers vested in the President under the Constitution, the responsibility to ensure that civilian life moves on without any hindrance has been given to the Presidential Task Force established
Special Representative of the President Basil Rajapaksa has been appointed as Chairman of the Task Force, while Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister Anton Perera serves as Secretary, the President’s Media Division said in a statement.
The members of the Task Force number 40, including Provincial Governors, several Secretaries to Ministries, Commanders of Tri-Forces, security chiefs including the Acting Inspector General of Police, Chairmen of several departments, corporations, and authorities, and District and Divisional Secretaries.
The President had declared the powers and functions of the Task Force through a special Gazette Notification.
The Task Force should carry out its responsibilities covering every district in the country, while giving priority to the districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, Puttalam, Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu, which have been identified as facing a greater risk.
Provision of required facilities to farmers for the production of rice, grams, vegetables, fish, dairy and egg, and other crops including tea, cinnamon, and pepper, is one of the main tasks. The Task Force should maintain a proper coordination mechanism with Ports, Customs, the corporate banking sector, and other State regulatory entities, to create a conducive environment to import essential dry food items and medicine, and to export goods such as tea and sanitary apparel, and implement decisions.
The Task Force will ensure the supply of food items purchased from producers directly to the consumers, while presenting operational reports to the President.
All Government Officers and other relevant persons who may be requested to extend assistance to deliver services shall comply with the instructions in respect of such tasks. The President has instructed Government officials and others through circulars that they should provide all necessary assistance and information. The Task Force is also required to report to the President regarding all incidents related to delays or omissions in the discharge of duties and responsibilities by an assigned officer.
Some of the other tasks assigned to the Task Force are:
nDirecting and providing facilities to the Department of Agriculture and to the Department of Agrarian Services to provide seeds, plants, fertiliser and equipment required for farming activities
Encouraging seed farming, use of organic fertilisers and home gardening, as well as granting loans to farmers through Bank of Ceylon, People's Bank, Regional Development Banks, and Samurdhi Bank branches
Giving particular attention to women, low income families, and vulnerable persons in carrying out the related tasks
Streamlining the distribution of rice, vegetables and products to the people of all districts to strengthen farmers and the local economy
Organising of Co-operatives, Sathosa, Economic Centres, Cargills, Keells, Arpico, and Laugfs business networks
Helping farmers in farming and plantation activities
The Task Force is empowered to continually sustain the process required to maintain the day-to-day life of the community, including the distribution of medicines and the opening of commercial banks.