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Covid-19: Hotels used for quarantine targeted by extortionists -Army Chief

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Hoteliers told not to pay ‘third parties’

There had been several attempts to extort money from hotels authorised to quarantine persons arriving from overseas, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said on Tuesday (12).

The Army Chief, who is also the Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), in addition to being the Chief of Defence Staff assured hotel owners/hoteliers/ hotel executives that they would be protected. The meeting was held at the NOCPCO.

Gen. Silva said that they had been able to thwart several such attempts after the second Covid-19 outbreak in Oct last year.

The Army Chief emphasized that hotels shouldn’t pay anyone to secure business. “What we want is to get those arrivals a fair deal with decent meals, full care and accommodation at the lowest rate possible,” Gen. Silva said.

The Army Chief thanked the management of Hotel Dolphin who offered their hotels free of charge for public servants, tri servicemen and other stakeholders for quarantine purposes. “Of course, the Hotel Citrus also offered their premises but we used only the offer of Hotel Dolphin during March-April in the early stages.”

The Army Chief said that the Jetwing group was generous to quarantine a group of 44 students at our request allocating 44 rooms during the ongoing second wave.

Gen. Silva provided telephone numbers of selected officers to be contacted if attempts were made to extort money (SF)



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SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving

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By Saman Indrajith

Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.

“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.

Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.

“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.

Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.

“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”

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CEB hit by exodus of technical staff

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By Shiran Ranasinghe

At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.

“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.

CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.

“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.

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Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES

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By Saman Indrajith

The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.

Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.

“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.

The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.

“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.

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