Accordingly, the amount paid to the owner of the building for the next 14 months until the end of the lease term in March 2021 is Rs. 336 million.
According to the agreement, even though the tenants vacate the building prior to the end of the 5 year lease term, the owner would not return the money paid for the entire period.
Therefore, the government does not gain anything by vacating the building prior to the end of the lease term. However, the loss to the government is Rs. 336 million.
Hence, several union leaders have requested the ministry officials to rethink their decision to vacate the premises prior to the end of the term.
Due to public protest, Agriculture Minister Chamal Rajapaksa submitted a Cabinet paper and had it approved to vacate this building. However, despite plans being made to shift the Agriculture Ministry to the Govi Jana Mandiraya building in Battaramulla, close to parliament, due to the dilapidated condition of that building, it would take a considerable amount of time to have it renovated.
Meanwhile, State Minister Vidura Wickramanayake recently stated that if the Agriculture Ministry is not shifted from this high rent D.P.J. building immediately, he would resign from his post.
The unions point out that if in the event the Agriculture Ministry is shifted from this building right away, despite Rs. 336 million being paid to the owners already, they could re-lease it to another party.
However, the shifting process has already commenced.