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Pensioners’ rights will be protected - Chief Govt Whip

The Government has no intention to terminate the associations formed by pensioners’ or curtail their rights, the Chief Government whip Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardene said.

The Minister speaking in Parliament yesterday said there are over 450,000 pensioners. They have formed various associations to safeguard their rights. Therefore, these pensioners’ associations also possess legal powers to perform their duties.

The Pensions Department is willing to reimburse Rs. 50 which had been deducted from the pensions paid to all pensioners for February, 2009, he said.

The amount had been deducted from the pensions as a contribution to establish a holiday resort for pensioners near the Ramboda water fall in the Nuwara Eliya district by the Pensions Department. If pensioners are urging for the reimbursement, the Department would pay them back, the Minister said.

The Minister said this Rs. 50 deduction has been made with the approval of the Pensioners’ Association. The Minister was responding to an question raised by JVP MP Jinadasa Kitulegoda.

When asked whether the consent of pensioners was obtained before deducting the aforesaid amount, the Minister said the Pensioners’ Associations functioning at national level had given their consent for the move. However, action to refund Rs. 50 to those pensioners who urge for the said amount will be taken in due course, the Minister added.

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