Anura Kumara Dissanayake

From TobaccoUnmasked


Anura Kumara Dissanayake, born in 1968, is a politician in Sri Lanka. He had his formal education at Thambuththegama Central College, Anuradhapura and his tertiary education from the Universities of Peradeniya and Kelaniya in Sri Lanka.[1][2]

Anura Kumara is from the People's Liberation Front / Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the main left-wing political party in Sri Lanka, representing Colombo district, the capital of Sri Lanka. According to the, a web page to rank the Members of Parliament in Sri Lanka, Anura Kumara’s engagement in topics of ‘Trade and Industry’ and of ‘Economy and Finance’ is “good”.[2]

Anura Kumara was nominated in August 2019 as the Candidate of the National People’s Power movement (NPP) for the Presidential election held on 16th November 2019. NPP was a coalition formed by several political parties and movements, aiming the Presidential Election.[3] He obtained 3.16% of the votes ranking third according to the obtained votes.[4]

Image 1: Anura Kumara Dissanayaka. Source: News 1st.[5]

Political/ Government Positions held

  • Parliament member since 2000.[6]
  • Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Land and Irrigation in 2004.[1]
  • Leader of People's Liberation Front since 2014 [7]
  • Chief Opposition Whip of Sri Lanka from September 2015 to December 2018.[8]

Tobacco Related Activities

Obtaining Tobacco Industry Funds for Renovation of Water Reservoirs

During his period as the Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Land and Irrigation, a project was launched to renovate irrigation water tanks (man-made reservoirs) in agricultural areas. The project was sponsored by the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary, that holds monopoly of cigarette manufacturing and sales in Sri Lanka. [9][10] During the implementation of the project Anura Kumara Dissanayaka was holding the post of Cabinet Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture.[1]

Image 2 is a photograph of the plaque commemorating the re-opening of the Slivathgama Tank on 17 December 2004. According to the plaque, the development was under “complete” financial sponsorship of the CTC. The plaque further mentions that manual labour was provided by the local farmers. The politicians mentioned in the plaque were; Anura Kumara Dissanayake (Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Land and Irrigation), Janaka Bandara Tennakoon (Provincial Minister) and Sujatha Alahakoon (Member of Parliament).

Image 2: The plaque commemorating the re-opening of the Slivathgama Tank on 17 December 2004. Source: TobaccoUnmasked.[11]

In a press conference held in 2014, his involvement with the Ceylon Tobacco “CSR projects” was criticised by a fellow Member of the Parliament Buddhika Pathirana.[12]

Just after the presidential Elections in 2019, Prof. Athula Sumathipala, one of the former supporters of the party criticised the involvement of Anura Kumara Dissanayake with the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) addressing “Aruna” national newspaper.[13]

Obtaining sponsorships from the tobacco industry is a violation of both Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 13 and Article 5.3.

CTC grows domestically the tobacco needed for their cigarettes and are criticised that in doing that they exploit the farmers and the limited resources available for food production.[14][15] .

Please also see our pages Ministry of Agriculture: Ministers and Officials and Attempts of Ceylon Tobacco to Sustain Tobacco Cultivation in Sri Lanka for more details.

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant Tobacco Unmasked entries:

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Facebook Profile. Anura Kumara Dissanayake, 2019, Accessed January 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 Anura Kumara Dissanayake Member of Parliament (MP), 2016-2017, Accessed January 2019
  3. Anura Kumara Dissanayake named presidential candidate, 18 August 2019, Accessed September 2019
  4. Department of Government Information. Presidential Election - 2019, 2019, accessed November 2019
  5. Anura Kumara Dissanayake Asks for Five Years to Build the Country, website, 13 August 2015, Accessed September 2019
  6. People’s Liberation Front. A Brief History of the JVP (Peoples Liberation Front) Sri Lanka, 1999-2016, Accessed January 2019
  7. People’s Liberation Front.Political Bureau, 1999-2016, Accessed January 2019
  8. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Chief Opposition Whips, 18 December 2018, Accessed January 2019
  9. Ceylon Tobacco Company. Annual report 2009, 2010, Accessed January 2019
  10. Ceylon Tobacco Company. Annual report 2010, 2011, Accessed January 2019
  11. Ministry of Agriculture: Ministers and Officials, 28 June 2019, Accessed September 2019
  12. M. Mudugamuwa. Invisible hand blocking pictorial warnings – Cancer Care Association Tobacco kills 55 persons daily The Island, 8 May 2014, Accessed January 2019
  13. Athula Sumathipala. [1], 20 November 2019, Accessed November 2019
  14. M. M. Krishan. Tobacco farmers' hopes turn into debt,, 01 February 2019, Accessed September 2019
  15. Centre for Combating Tobacco. Tobacco Cultivation in Sri Lanka: Past, Present and the Future, Fact Sheet, 27 February 2018