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Dr. Rangika Halwatura | Dr. R H S Samarathunga

The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) charged that the Treasury Secretary had refused to provide academics with a reason as to why they were being treated differently over the issue of giving vehicle permits.

A discussion had been held recently between the FUTA and the Treasury Secretary at which a heated argument had ensued resulting in the FUTA walking out.

President of the FUTA, Senior Lecturer (Grade II) at the Department of Civil Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Moratuwa, Dr. Rangika Halwatura remarked that the Treasury had admitted that they had made a mistake in the circulars issued to provide Rs 2,500 to Government sector employees where University staff had not been mentioned as eligible for the increment promised in the Budget.

If the Treasury is making such blunders, how are we to trust them to steer the economy on the right track, he queried.

It is absolutely intolerable that the academics are to be given the vehicle permit in the eighth year of joining the service, he said.

“If the Government states that there is a financial crisis and therefore they will not be giving vehicle permits, we are willing to support it. We have not asked for vehicle permits. Yet if the Government is providing vehicle permits to all other sectors, academics too should be treated equally. MPs are given a vehicle permit with a limit of 65,000 US Dollars in five years. Others are given it in their sixth year. We are to be given it in the eighth year. We do not have to beg. We are educated professionals. Why are we treated differently?,” he noted.

The FUTA has called for an emergency meeting to discuss the next course of action in this regard.