Bid to axe PUCSL head: Govt. all out to secure 113 votes
by Saman Indrajith
Government leaders are all out to secure 113 votes to ensure the passage of a motion to remove Janaka Ratnayake from the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), which he currently heads.The vote is scheduled to be taken on Wednesday (24) evening after a full-day debate from 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
“In accordance with Sri Lanka Public Utilities Commission Act No. 35 of 2002 on Wednesday the 24th of May from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm the address for the removal of Mr. J. W. M. J.P. K Ratnayake, the incumbent Chairman and the member of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, from the membership of the said Commission in terms of Section 7 of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Act is also scheduled to be taken up for debate,” Parliament has said in a media statement.
The government claims to have 120 MPs on its side in the 225-member House but 10 of them are currently overseas. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has ordered that none of the MPs leave the country and those who are overseas return in time for Wednesday’s vote.
The government has approached the TNA for support, according to sources.SLPP General Secretary MP Sagara Kariyawasam, last Thursday, said that SLPP did not approve of Ratnanayke’s conduct and would support the motion.
Party sources however said that some 20 SLPP MPs had met with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa and expressed their opposition to voting against Ratnayake, appointed by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. They said Ratnayake had opposed power tariff increases and public opinion would turn against the government in case of his removal.
The government has sought Basil Rajapaksa’s help to muster enough votes to remove Ratnayake. Basil is currently in Dubai.The SJB and JVP have already announced that they will vote against the government’s move.
Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella, addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, said the SLPP had announced its readiness to vote in favour of the proposal presented to Parliament to remove Ratnayake from the PUCSL. He said the main Opposition group would back Ratnayake, who had resisted attempts to increase electricity tariff unfairly. The motion to remove Ratnayake was similar to the one that was used to sack former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, Kiriella said.
The JVP-led NPP announced, on Saturday, its decision to vote against the government’s plans to remove Ratnayake from the PUCSL.
Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath said: “We won’t protect any individual as such. We support the position Ratnayake has taken vis-a-vis the government’s plans to increase electricity tariff. The government attempted to increase electricity tariffs going by the IMF conditions. That was very unfair. The PUCSL chairman opposed it. The government could pressure the other members of the PUCSL to toe its line. Now, it is only this chairman who is standing between the government and its plans to increase the electricity prices unfairly. Therefore, the government is trying to remove him by passing a motion to that effect in Parliament. We will go all out to defeat this move.”
PUCSL Chairman Ratanayake has written to General Secretary of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake seeking the latter’s approval to watch the debate from the public gallery. He has said: “I request you to allow me and my two sons to witness the proceedings of Parliament from the gallery on 24th May 2023, as the debate in relation to the removal of me from the position of Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to be taken up on that date.”
High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka meets with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament & Secretary-General of Parliament
Michael Appelton, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka, accompanied by Andrew Traveller, Deputy High Commissioner, met with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle MP, and Secretary-General of Parliament, Kushani Rohanadeera, recently.
During the meeting, the Ambassador emphasized that gender equality in politics is vital for the achievement of peaceful societies, the realization of full human potential, and sustainable development. He also stated that they have taken several initiatives to ensure equal women’s participation in the New Zealand Parliament.
Dr. Fernandopulle, MP, shared her concerns regarding the lack of gender sensitivity in Sri Lankan politics. She drew attention to the urgent need for a more inclusive political framework that ensures equal representation and participation for women.
The Secretary-General of Parliament affirmed that Parliament has taken actions to increase youth and women’s representation in committees and is currently working on improving disability access to Parliament.
Climate Change University to be launched next year
At the briefing on the progress of Climate Change and Green Growth held on Wednesday (31) at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and officials of the Climate Change Secretariat led by President’s Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene it was revealed that the Climate Change University would be launched next year and that the University Grants Commission had identified approximately 130 scientists who have gained international recognition for their research on climate change who, together with their international affiliations would be brought together as part of the initiative.
President Wickremesinghe expressing his perspective on the International Climate Change University, emphasized that it should be a post-graduate institution solely focused on research which does not offer undergraduate courses. Any country or organization that contributes to the university becomes a stakeholder and gains membership on the Board of Governance. The Korean Exim Bank has expressed interest in partnering with the university and negotiations between Sri Lanka and the Korea Exim Bank, led by the External Resource Department have concluded successfully. The President said that prestigious institutions like Harvard and MIT have also expressed interest in collaboration.
The discussions also revolved around inviting a group of international experts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, tentatively scheduled for July/August to engage in policy conversations, addressing global issues, and exploring potential research projects that could be derived from these policy dialogues.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized that all future research in the field of climate change should be conducted at this institution.
IUSF threatens showdown
By Pradeep Prasanna Samarakoon
The university system is facing a grave crisis as around 40 percent of the lecturers have left the state education system, says the Convenor of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Madushan Chandrajith.
Chandrajith said the ‘exodus’ of top academics would lead to a massive drop in the quality of education as most of those who have left are among the cream of scholars.Chandrajith said that about one-third of students in state universities, eligible for hostel facilities, did not have access to them.He warned that the IUSF will organise massive protests, in the coming weeks, if steps are not taken to resolve the many issues in the University system.
While the Mahapola scholarship has not been increased, the prices of food in the hostels have risen dramatically, he said.
“About 2,500 students in Kelaniya, 4,000 students in Rajarata and 6,000 in Peradeniya do not have hostel accommodation,” he went on to say..According to Chandrajith, a student needs about Rs 20,000 a month to meet basic needs.
“One requires about Rs 12,000 a month for food alone,” he said.
A senior official at the Ministry of Public Administration told The Island that some lecturers and doctors had a 100 percent attendance record but they avoided work.
“They are responsible for the attendance registry and they cook up the books to have full attendance. They take a lot of OT payments by doing this. We are looking at introducing a digital mechanism to mark attendance at universities and hospitals,” he said.
Kipyegon breaks world 1500m record with 3:49.11 in Florence
233 killed, around 900 injured in Odisha triple train crash
Ollie Pope, Ben Duckett conspire to crush Ireland
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
#Sundayisland Sunday Island- 31 January- Headlines
Features6 days ago
An autobigraphy of a remarkable self-made billionaire
News4 days ago
Police looking for security guard of Sirisena’s brother
Features6 days ago
Where are Sri Lanka’s economists?
Latest News4 days ago
Jadeja’s nerveless hitting gifts Chennai Super Kings fifth IPL title
Features5 days ago
Human Rights and War Crimes : Sri Lanka’s ignorance matches that of US
News6 days ago
Lankan hospitality professional grabs top US luxury hotel job
News5 days ago
Sri Lankans living abroad can apply for a new passport or renew their passport online from 01 June
Features4 days ago
Sri Lanka’s ignorance matches that of US – II