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Chief Govt. Whip tells opposition not to cry every time a suspect is arrested over Easter carnage

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‘They should be crying for the poor victims’

Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday said that the Opposition’s hypocrisy was amply displayed by the fact that its members were crying about the rights and plight of the suspects of the Easter Sunday terror attacks, while forgetting the predicament of victims of those attacks.

Addressing the media after a meeting held at his Ministry in Battaramulla, the Minister said: “Have you ever seen our Opposition members talk of the plight of the Easter Sunday victims? Whenever an arrest is made and those who are responsible for the terror attacks are taken into custody, they make statements against the government for making such arrests and highlight the rights of the suspects.

Minister Fernando said that those in the Opposition had been in power when the Easter Sunday carnage took place and the Opposition Leader and his party men had to seek justice for the victims and their family members. “The Opposition members should actually cooperate with us to conduct these investigations instead of attempting to derail them by raising wild allegations. I myself have asked them on numerous occasions to assist in the investigations. Instead, they cry foul whenever police make any arrest. They seem to be of the opinion that these arrests are similar to the way they incarcerated the then opposition politicians during their government. This investigation is a serious matter pertaining to national security; it is not a political witchhunt. We have given free hand to investigators and the police to make the necessary arrests and detain the suspects as per the needs of the investigation. They would not be released just because the SJB members weep for the rights of those suspects. Over 269 persons were killed and 500 others were wounded. Thousands of persons suffer the consequences of the loss of their loved ones and properties. So, I call on the Opposition again to think seriously before criticising the government and to think of the plight of the victims rather than the rights of those who had links with the terror groups before they open their mouths.”



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Businesses can collapse due to electricity tariff increase next year– Patali

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Patali Champika Ranawaka

The Cabinet has approved increase in electricity tariffs in two stages in January and June 2023.

The disclosure was made on Tuesday (29) at a meeting of the Sub Committee on Identifying the Short & Medium-Term Programmes, related to Economic Stabilisation of the National Council.

The government increased power tariffs in August this year.

Parliament announced that although the electricity tariffs had been increased in the recent past, the CEB was still running at a loss.

The representatives of the government and private institutions related to the power sector were called before the Committee to obtain proposals for the purpose of solving the issues in the power sector.

In order to cover the current losses of the CEB, electricity tariffs had to be increased by about 70%, the statement issued by Parliament quoted CEB representatives as having said.

The statement quoted Chairman of the Committee, Patali Champika Ranawaka, as having said that if electricity tariffs were increased to cover CEB’s losses, businesses could collapse as a result.

It was also disclosed that the CEB currently owed nearly 650 billion rupees as outstanding debt to various parties including banks and electricity suppliers. The Electricity Board representative stated that out of the amount to be paid, nearly Rs. 35 billion were to be paid to the organisations that supplied renewable energy, and 75 billion rupees are to be paid to Thermal power suppliers. Thus, it expects to pay at least part of what it owes the suppliers from the 50-billion-rupee loan to be received. (SF)

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PMD claims President’s response misinterpreted

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe denied recent media reports stating that the Provincial Councils will be replaced with the District Development Committees.

Issuing a press release his media division said President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s response in Parliament on Tuesday has been misinterpreted.

Wickremesinghe’s media Division said that in response to a statement by former President Maithripala Sirisena, the President stated that the District Development Committees (DDCs) would be established within the Provincial Councils.

The DDCs would provide a platform for coordination between thegovernment, the Provincial Councils and the Local Government bodies for all executive decisions, the Media Division said.

“This will ensure the process is not duplicated and will reduce financial wastage. Apart from that, the president has not made any statement about the dissolution of provincial councils.”

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Kumudesh: Top bureaucrat demands service extension from Minister’s daughter to approve shady deal

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A senior official of the Ministry of Health has asked the daughter of a Cabinet Minister to help him obtain a service extension in return for approving a controversial tender for medical supplies, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) Ravi Kumudesh says.

Kumudesh told The Island yesterday that the Minister’s daughter was working for a company that supplied oxygen generators.

“The official told the Minister’s daughter that he would grant the tender to a company of his choice to ensure a comfortable retirement and if her company wanted to secure the contract he should be given an extension in service.”

Kumudesh said the money for the medical equipment was to be paid through the grants from the Global Fund. The World Bank is a major contributor to the Global Fund.

“Officials can grant these tenders to companies of their choice by changing criteria. They make small technical specifications to ensure that only one company qualifies. These officials are a law unto themselves.”

Health Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

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