Kumara Welgama

From TobaccoUnmasked

Background

Kumara Welgama, born in 1950, is a Sri Lankan politician. Having been elected from the Kalutara District, he is a member of the Sri Lankan Parliament since 1994. He was the Agalawatte Electorate Chief Organiser (1984 to 2000) of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), one of the two prominent political parties in Sri Lanka. His profession is mentioned as a Landed Proprietor in public databases.[1]He was educated at the S. Thomas' Preparatory School, Kollupitiya and the S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia.[2]

Kumara Welgama represented the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the ruling political alliance from 2010 to 2015 formed by the SLFP,.[1]In March 2020, Welgama launched his new political party ‘Nawa Lanka Nidahas Pakshaya’ supporting the ‘Samagi Jana Balawegaya’ led by Sajith Premadasa in the run up to the Sri Lankan parliamentary election 2020.[3]

Image 1: Minister Kumara Welgama.[4]

Political / Government Position Held

  • SLFP Chief Organiser of the Agalawatte Electorate - 1984 to 2000[1]
  • Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament - 1994 to present[1]
  • Deputy Minister of Transport – 2000 to 2001[5]
  • Deputy Minister of Power and Energy – 2004 to 2007[6]
  • Minister of Industrial Development – 2007 to 2010[7]
  • Minister of Transport – 2010 to January 2015[8]

Tobacco Related Activities

Obtaining Ceylon Tobacco Sponsorship for Reconstruction of Railway Stations

In 2013, during his period as the Cabinet Minister of Transport, a project was launched to reconstruct the railway stations on the Nothern Line, from Omanthai to Kankasanthurai, reconnecting the Northern parts of the country to the South, in the post-war reconstruction phase. This project enabling the recommencement of the operation of the legendary ‘’Yal Devi’’ train from Colombo to Jaffna, received a wide positive media coverage. [9][10][11][12][13]According to “Daily News”, the state-owned national newspaper, Minister Welgama pledged sponsorship from 29 public and private institutions for this project including Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary that holds monopoly of cigarette manufacturing and sales in Sri Lanka.[9][14]

During a parliamentary debate in February 2014, a Member of the Parliament from the Opposition, MP Vijitha Herath questioned the “double standards” of the government, which has promised to “Stop Addiction” (‘’Mathata Thitha’’ policy) while obtaining sponsorships from the tobacco company to build railway and Police Stations (Image 2)[14].

Image 2: The excerpt from Hanzard reporting the reconstruction of railway stations sponsored by CTC[14]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked pages:

The local language translations

TobaccoUnmasked_Sinhala
TobaccoUnmasked_Tamil



Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Parliament of Sri Lanka. Directory of Members, Undated, accessed June 2020
  2. Manthri.lk. Kumara Welgama, Undated, accessed June 2020
  3. The Sunday Morning. Kumara Welgama pledges support to Sajith, 12 March 2020, accessed June 2020
  4. Daily news. Bribery case against Kumara Welgama, 21 January 2016, accessed June 2020
  5. The Island. Anil’s policies will be followed for better transport system - New Dy. Transport Minister, 17 November 2000, accessed June 2020
  6. Sunday Observer. Thirty-one Ministers take oaths before President, 11 April 2004, accessed June 2020
  7. The Parliament of Sri Lanka. List of Ministries and the Relevant Ministers with effect from January 28, 2007, 06 February 2007, accessed June 2020
  8. Daily news. CABINET & DEPUTY MINISTERS, 23 November 2010, accessed June 2020
  9. 9.0 9.1 I Range. Twentynine public, private institutions to help reconstruct Northern railway stations, Daily news, 16 July 2013, accessed July 2020
  10. The Island. Com Bank funds Kilinochchi railway station, 19 September 2013, accessed July 2020
  11. Daily FT. President declares open Commercial Bank funded Kilinochchi Railway Station, 19 September 2013, accessed July 2020
  12. The Island. Sampath Bank empowers national priority of the sustainable development of the North, 18 October 2014, accessed July 2020
  13. Daily FT. Sampath Bank rebuilds Navatkuli Railway station, 19 September 2013, accessed July 2020
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Parliament of Sri Lanka. Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Official Report, 223(8), 19 February 2014, accessed July 2020