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Controversial Electricity Bill passed



By Saman Indrajith

The third reading of the Sri Lanka Electricity (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday (09).

120 MPs voted for the second reading of the Bill after a division was called by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella. 36 Parliamentarians voted against.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JNB) voted against the bill. SLFP MPs including MP Maithripala Sirisena were absent. 13 MPs, including Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Prof. Tissa Vitharana and M. L. A. M Athaullah abstained while 55 were absent during voting.

SJB MP Harsha de Silva proposed an amendment to the bill so that tenders need to be called with regard to projects that generates power exceeding 10Mw.

The government opposed this proposal and the SJB MP called for a division. 51 voted in favour of Dr. de Silva’s proposal while 115 voted against.

The third reading was passed without a vote.

During the debate, Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera told parliament that spill gates of Randenigala, Rantembe and a few other reservoirs were open by some of the unionists who were on strike.

“The water was released and no power was generated. This means that diesel power plants produced electricity. These people are trying to get rid of the water so that more thermal power plants can operate. We cant allow these unions to hold the country ransom,” he said.

The Minister added that the reservoirs and the power plants need to be provided with security. The generation of electricity had been declared an essential service and the courts have asked CEB Engineers not to disrupt the power supply, Wijesekera said.

“But still these people attempted to disrupt electricity generation. On Thursday those manning the system control unit of CEB tried to trip the system. Earlier this week, I presented a report on the island-wide power outages last year and the report did not rule out human intervention. Because of what they did, we had to have 12 hour power cuts. This inconvenienced everyone. They are trying to do the same here. Some CEB officials depend on the diesel mafia. All MPs and people must come together to stop these people,” he said.


Renew firearm license for 2024 before 31st December 2023 – Ministry of Defence




The Ministry of Defence has announced that the renewal of firearm license of individuals/ institutions for the year 2024 will be carried out from 01 October 2023 to 31 December 2023 and the required details can be downloaded from the Defence Ministry’s website

Firearm license renewal for 2024 will not be carried out after 31 December 2023. It is also informed that possession of a firearm without a valid license is a punishable offense under provisions of Section 22 of the Firearms Ordinance.

Registration renewal of Private Security Firms for the year 2024/2025 will be carried out from 01.10.2023 to 31.12.2023. Any renewals made after the deadline will be subjected to a fine or legal action.

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“Unite to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048” – President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Milad-Un-Nabi message urged all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048.

“Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all” he said.

The full text of the President’s message :

“My greetings to the Muslim community in Sri Lanka and around the world, observing Milad Un Nabi, being the auspicious occasion commemorating the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.

He is celebrated as the final messenger of Allah, known for profound teachings of love and peace that encompass humanity. His journey to spread the message of Islam in the challenging societal context of that time, was marked by significant trials. Even in the face of adversity, the Holy Prophet’s unwavering patience and equanimous strength served as powerful attributes. He was victorious in attaining his aspirations, through boundless sacrifices for faith and humanity.

As we celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday today, it is timely to resolve to uphold the values that were the hallmark of his life, which include mutual understanding, brotherhood, assistance to one another and fairness. Our commitment to fostering social harmony is the most meritorious tribute which could be paid to his legacy.

I urge all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path, to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048. Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all.

I wish all those of the Islamic faith, a joyous Eid Milad-Un-Nabi, filled with love, peace and prosperity!”

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

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National Security Oversight Comm. Chief denied US visa



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on National Security, Rear Admiral (retd.) Sarath Weerasekera has told Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena that the US should not deny a visa to an MP nominated by the Sri Lankan Parliament to join an official delegation unless he/she posed a threat to US interests.

In a letter dated 25 Sept., 2023, the former Public Security Minister has informed Speaker Abeywardena the issuance of visas was the prerogative of the US mission, but the issue of the US Embassy insisting that he be replaced with a member of a minority community must be taken up.

Of the Chairpersons of 17 Oversight Committees chosen for a 10-day study tour of the US organised by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and USAID, later next month, only Weerasekera has been denied a visa.

Declaring that he had B1 (business) and B2 US visa (tourism) or combination of the two, Rear Adm. Weerasekera said that he had no special interest or reason to join the delegation but it was wrong for the US Embassy to deny him a visa.

The MP has said that he will seek an explanation from Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardena in this regard. “In my capacity as Chairman of the Oversight Committee on National Security, I intend to call a meeting with Secretary Defence and Armed Forces chiefs to discuss this matter,” MP Weerasekera said.

Weerasekera retired in late 2006 after having served the Navy with an unblemished record for well over three decades.

Responding to another query, the former Minister said that the Parliament had been asked by the US Embassy to name another member of his committee, representing a minority community for the programme.

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