Rural Economic Development Minister P Harrison questioned the statement made by Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on the decision to store paddy at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).
Harrison dismissed the claim that the paddy had resulted in birds flocking to the airport and causing damages.
Nimal Siripala de Silva had said recently he wants paddy stored at MRIA removed and the airport maintained at international standards.
The Minister said that the environment at the airport had been damaged as a result of paddy being stored at the airport premises.
He said that birds had begun to flock around the airport after paddy was brought to be stored in one of the stores in the airport by the Paddy Marketing Board.
The Minister, under who the subject of civil aviation now operates, said that he will give the Paddy Marketing Board time to remove the paddy in stages.
Minister P. Harrison however says the MRIA was paid to store the paddy and the income it got as a result was more than it was earning on a normal day.
He said that Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva should be careful in what he says in public. However he insisted that the comments did not mean there was a rift between the United National Party and Sri Lanka Freedom Party. (Colombo Gazette)