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Army-run farms produce ample stocks of rice for sale to troops at subsidized prices

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In an effort to contribute towards promoting self-sufficiency in rice and ensuring food security in the country, troops have produced an ample stock of paddy through Army-run farms of the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock for distribution among military personnel at subsidized prices.

Under the multifaceted ‘Thuru Mithuru-Nawa Ratak’ crop cultivation and afforestation project initiated by the Army Commander, paddy harvests of the Maha-2019 and Yala-2020 seasons were collected from newly cultivated Sri Jayewardenepura paddy fields adjoining Army HQ and from other Army farms elsewhere, including organically-produced local varieties of ‘suwandel’, ‘kaluheeneti’ etc.

The species were grown with minimal use of harmful pesticides and chemicals. The stocks of rice free of toxic chemicals produced in the farms were, as instructed by the Army Commander, delivered for sale to Army welfare stalls managed by the Security Force HQ-East, Regimental HQs at Panagoda Army Cantonment and Army Seva Vanitha Unit-managed welfare shops at Kendalanda, Manning Town, Rukmalgama, Panaluwa, Jawatte and Wattala.

On the eve of Army Day on Friday (9), Brigadier Indrajith Kandanaarachchi, Director, Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock, delivered a stock of 25,000 kgs of Army-produced rice to the Army Seva Vanitha Unit (ASVU) at the HQ for distribution among ASVU-run Army welfare shops under the supervision of Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, ASVU.

Lieutenant Colonel Nishantha Muttanthirige, Commanding Officer, 6 (V) Sri Lanka Army General Service Corps at Kandakadu, on behalf of the Director Agriculture and Livestock, handed over the stock to Colonel Sumeda Balasuriya and Colonel Aruna Wijekoon of the ASVU office for sale to troops at subsidized prices at welfare shops.

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

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Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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