The government today refuted allegations made by various parties about a lack of

funding towards the Anuradhapura Poson Program.

The Presidential Media Division said that state ministries and one department had already allocated Rs. 28.8 million for the purpose.

“Accusations have been made by various parties claiming that the government would not

contribute to the state Poson festival in 2023, particularly the Poson programs cantered

around the Mihintale sacred site”, the statement said.

This information was gathered through multiple sources, including the Ministry of

Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs; Ministry of Public Administration, Home

Affairs, Provincial Councils, and Local Government; the Ministry of Defense; the Sri Lanka Police; the Anuradhapura District Secretariat; the Ministry of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development; and Associated Newspapers Ceylon Limited.

In 1963, the Lake House Company initiated the ‘Lakehouse Mihintale Aloka Pooja’ under the guidance of Mr. Ranjith Wijewardene, aiming to serve religious and social purposes. Over the past 59 years, financial assistance has been provided for various activities such as Aloka Pooja, Sati Piritha, Perahara, and Chaitya painting.

During the COVID-19 period in 2020/2021 and in 2022, financial assistance was extended in amounts of Rs. 4.6 million, Rs. 2.3 million, and Rs. 2.9 million, respectively. However, the Lake House Company has been continuously incurring financial losses since 2018, with a loss of Rs. 192 million in 2022.

Consequently, the management has notified the Mihintale Poson Committee that they cannot sponsor the programs this year due to these dire circumstances.

Venerable Valahangunawewe Dhammarathana Thera, the incumbent monk of Mihintale

Rajamaha Viharaya forwarded an estimate of Rs. 17 million to the Secretary of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious, and Cultural Affairs, specifically for the Mihintale Poson Perahara.

However, the Ministry Secretary, Mr. Somaratne Widanapathirana, responded that allocating such a large sum of money is not possible within the financial regulations imposed by Parliament. Instead, the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious, and Cultural Affairs has approved a sum of Rs. 3.1 million from its budget head allocations for the 2023 National Poson Festival.

Also, the secretary presented a report of the expenses incurred by the ministry for the Poson program.