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Danusha Marine’s Rs 300 mn boatyard commissioned



Text and pictures by PRIYAN  DE SILVA

Danusha Marine’s state of the art boat yard built with an investment of Rs. 300 million at Payagala was declared open by the Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping U. D. Jayalal yesterday morning .

The yard was completed early this year, but it was not possible to have an opening ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the management was compelled to commence operations to meet delivery deadlines and the  first 20 meter multi day fishing vessel ‘FV OCEAN HARVEST’  built at the yard for Ocean Harvest Ltd of Mauritius was also launched yesterday.

The 2,500-square-metre boat yard situated on a three acre land at Diyalagoda Payagala has modern equipment and technology used in boat manufacturing and has capacity to build three 24 meter boats concurrently.

Managing Director of Danusha Marine Pvt. Ltd., and Danusha Group Sumithra Fernando recalled the beginning of his venture on a ten-perch block of land in Moratuwa with Rs, 5,000 in his pocket two decades back and said that the new yard at Payagala which was his fourth was expected to bring in over USD 1 million into the country in the first year and USD 3 million from the second year onwards.

Mahen Sookun Managing Director of Ocean Harvest Ltd owner of the first vessel built at the yard, addresing the audience via Internet said that he had selected Danusha Marine because of the facilities they had and the sincerity of MD Sumithra Fernando.

Danusha Fernando, Directress of Danusha Marine welcomed the invitees while  Indira Malwatta former Chairperson of the Export Development Board, who supported the setting up of the boatyard, Secretary to the Ministry of Warehouse Facilities,  Container Yards, Port Supply Facilities and Boat and Shipping Industry Development D.D. Mataraarachchi,   Director General Department of Fisheries Prasanna Ginige and Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping U D Jayalal addressed the occasion 

Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda,  Minister of Ports and Shipping  Rohitha Abeygunawardena, State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish & Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi day Fishing Activities and Fish Exports Kanchana Wijesekera,      State Minister of Warehouse Facilities, Container Yards, Port Supply Facilities and Boats and Shipping Industry Development,  Jayantha Samaraweera  who accepted the invitation to attend the opening ceremony did not attend  due to urgent commitments at Parliament.

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Majority of 300 luxury vehicles to be released



… some shipped in without opening LCs, EU wants restrictions abolished

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The majority of the luxury vehicles imported by special permit holders in contravention of the import ban imposed by the government in view of precarious economic situation caused by corona first wave are likely to be released subject to penalties.

Well informed sources said that those vehicles shipped in without even opening LCs would be released. Among the violators were many government servants.

Sources said that vehicles brought in without opening LCs were likely to be confiscated.

“We have categorised over 300 vehicles, including BMWs, Mercedes-Benz and Audis into two groups. Customs are now in the process of evaluating individual cases,” a high ranking state official said.

The government announced a ban on vehicle imports to arrest the depletion of foreign reserves. Sources acknowledged that at the time the vehicles

arrived in Sri Lanka the second corona wave hadn’t erupted. The situation was far worse now and further deteriorating, they said, adding that the Customs were being inundated with requests for releasing vehicles on sympathetic grounds.

Controversy surrounds the failure on the part of the government to strictly implement the import ban in view of the sharp drop in state revenue due to the pandemic.

Recently, the EU demanded that Sri Lanka immediately lift import ban or face the consequences. The EU issued the warning in talks with government representatives. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena explained the circumstances that compelled the government to impose import restrictions. The EU sought an explanation as to when the ban would be lifted. The Foreign Ministry quoted Foreign Minister Gunawardena as having explained to the EU the challenges Sri Lanka economy was facing amidst the dwindling foreign currency reserve situation due to the significant reduction in remittances and tourism revenue induced by the COVID-19 global pandemic. The minister said that the import restrictions were being reviewed.

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Nearly 74,000 persons under home quarantine



Close to 74,000 people belonging to 27,974 families had been placed under home quarantine, Police Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said on Wednesday (25).

He said that the number of cases from the Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda clusters had increased to 17,436 with 458 persons had tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

Two wards of the Kethumathi Maternity Hospital, Panadura were temporarily closed on Wednesday after two pregnant women admitted there tested COVID-19 positive.

The two women are from Atalugama, which has been declared an isolated area. During the last few days close to half of the COVID-19 patients detected in Colombo District are from Atalugama.

The two women have been sent to Neville Fernando Hospital, Malabe. The patients and staff in Wards 3 and 4 at the Kethumathi Maternity Hospital are now under quarantine. Their family members too have been asked to undergone self-quarantine.

The Police had arrested 61 persons who had violated quarantine laws within the 24 hours that ended at 8 am yesterday, Police spokesman, DIG Ajith Rohana said, adding that they had been arrested for not wearing masks or for not maintaining physical distancing. With those altogether 688 persons had been arrested for violating quarantine laws from October 30, he said.

Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya said that apart from Welikada, the spread of COVID-19 had been controlled at other prisons. COVID-19 cases had been reported from six prisons, he added.

“We are conducting PCR tests and hope that the situation in Welikada too would be brought under control. Twenty four new cases were detected from prisons on November 24 and from October 04, we have identified 708 cases within the prison system.”

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Severity of impact of second wave on economy could be far worse than anticipated – CBSL



By Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte

The impact of the second wave of COVID-19 could be severer on the economic growth than previously anticipated, Director of Economic Research at the Central Bank Dr. Chandranath Amarasekara said yesterday (26).

Dr. Amarasekera said so responding to a query by The Island at a CBSL media briefing. The top official said that an assessment couldn’t be made yet as the second wave was continuing.

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