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Committee to find solutions to problems facing white water rafting enthusiasts at Kitulgala due to hydropower project

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A stakeholder speaking

By S.K. Kaluarachchi

Saman Ekanayake, Secretry to the Persident, yesterday instructed a committee appointed to investigate problems caused by a hydropower project to white water rafting to make recommendations on possible solutions

Those involved in the sport around the Kitulgala area are facing issues due to the Broadlands hydropower project.

The President’s Secretary issued these instructions during the discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat with stakeholders.

Ekanayake also advised members of the committee, comprising officials from the Ministry of Tourism and other institutions to conduct a field investigation into the issues raised and submit a report within two weeks.

White water rafting in the Kitulgala area drew a large number of local and foreign tourists, the President’s Media Division said.

According to those who provide related services, the Broadlands hydropower project has had a significant impact on the operation of the Kithulgala water rafting industry.

As a result, their livelihoods have been greatly impacted, and they have requested the authorities to help save this sport, which has the potential for earning foreign exchange for the country.

The Director of Broadlands Hydropower Project, who participated in this discussion, stated that steps have been taken to cooperate with the Kitulgala white water rafting service provider community in accordance with existing technical arrangements.

However, the President’s Secretary drew attention to the practical issues raised by the community providing relevant services and directed officials to provide solutions as soon as possible.

Member of Parliament Rajika Wickramasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs

K. Mahesan, Secretary of the Irrigation Ministry U.D.C. Jayalal, and officials from the Ministry of

Tourism, Ceylon Electricity Board, Central Environment Authority, and other line institutions took part in the discussion.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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