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Electricity regulator moves to license qualified electricians

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The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, today commenced the second phase of awarding free National Vocational Qualification Level 3 (NVQ 3) Programme for Electricians. PUCSL plans to give this qualification to 45,000 electricians by the end of 2022.

The PUCSL launched this programme in March last year and more than 2000 electricians have obtained NVQ3 under the programme and qualified for the electrician license. NVQ3 is the minimum qualification for obtaining electrician license. PUCSL has scheduled to offer NVQ3 qualification for 1,500 electricians this month and the third phase of the program will begin in November this year with a plan to offer the qualification to another 2,500 electricians by December this year.

Commenting on the launching of the second phase, Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, said: “There are about 45,000 people engaged in the electrical profession in Sri Lanka. More than 95 percent of these do not have a recognized qualification and due to that they cannot move forward in their respective profession. Also, lack of standardised electricians is a threat to electrical safety of households. The minimum qualification to obtain the license is the NVQ 3 qualification. We launched this programme to provide free NVQ3 to all electricians as a solution to all these problems. Our goal is to offer NVQ3, free of charge, to all experienced electricians within next year.”

PUCSL also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vocational and Tertiary Education Commission (TVEC), the Vocational Training Authority (VTA) and the National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) to award NVQ 3 for electricians. According to these MoUs, the examinations and course fees of the NVQ 3 are borne by the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka on behalf of electricians. A special feature of this programme is that the electricians will be able to qualify for NVQ 3 under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL based Evaluation) system within four days.

The PUCSL together with Construction Industry Development Authority of Sri Lanka (CIDA) has planned to award electricians the professional license after obtaining NVQ 3 level, Ratnayake said.

“In the future, regulations will be imposed where electricians will be required to obtain electricity licenses. The National Electrician Licensing framework has already been introduced for electricians and career advancement under four different grades were introduced through the framework. Many organisations, including PUCSL and CIDA jointly prepared this framework. PUCSL plans to offer NVQ3 level, free of charge to all electricians in Sri Lanka and therefore all the electricians can easily obtain the professional license once they are qualified. We are planning to issue the electrical professional license at the district level from this month.” Ratnayake added.



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Vasu defends constituents’ right to differ

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Prez chairs govt. group meeting:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has strongly defended the right of the SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) constituents’ to take up contentious issues in public.

Minister Nanayakkara told SLPP parliamentary group meeting at the President’s House on Sunday night (24) that their right to differ on matters of public interest shouldn’t be questioned.

Nanayakkara said so when Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena and MP Tissa Kuttiarachchi faulted some constituent parties for dissenting views on certain issues.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was present at the meeting chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The meeting lasted for about two hours.

The SLPP held Sunday’s meet in the wake of some constituent parties of the ruling coalition asking for a discussion on the questionable agreement between the government and the US New Fortress Energy Company over the Yugadanavi power plant, etc. Sources said that initially, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa indicated that the issue could be discussed with the Premier but subsequently arrangements were made for the Sunday’s meeting.

The New Fortress recently announced that a definitive agreement had been executed for the external investment in West Coast Power Limited (WCP).

WCP owns the 310 megawatts Yugadanavi Power Plant based in Colombo. The deal is also for the rights to develop a new LNG Terminal off the coast of Colombo. In terms of the agreement, New Fortress will acquire a 40 per cent ownership stake in WCP. The US energy firm plans to build an offshore LNG terminal located off the coast of Colombo.

Minister Nanayakkara has said it is not unusual for members of a coalition to hold different views depending on the issues as they also represent the interests of the public.

Nanayakkara has pointed out how the left parties remained with the UPFA though they didn’t agree with the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to enact the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Parliament passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with a two-thirds majority on 08 Sept. 2010, enabling the President to seek a third term among other things.

The SLPP constituents have differed with the government on several issues such as fuel price increases announced by Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila on 12 June as well as the abortive bid to transfer 49 percent of shares of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo port to India and Japan.

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa spearheaded the constituents’ campaign. He sought an explanation particularly as regards Cabinet approval for the controversial energy deal with the US firm, without a discussion among ministers.

NFF sources told The Island that their leader felt the urgent need to take up the matter to prevent further deterioration of relations among the coalition members.

Several parties including government ally the Jathika Sanvidhana Ekamuthuwa moved the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, respectively against the secretive energy deal with the US firm.

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‘Those who hesitate to get vaccinated pose a threat to others’

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath said yesterday a significant number of people had not received the Covid-19 vaccine, and posed a threat to society.

“No matter what your age category is, you will be at a higher risk of being infected and spreading it to others. So please get vaccinated,” he urged.

The DDGHS said that a booster shot would be given to people from 01 Nov.

The Health Ministry would carry out the ongoing vaccination drive until everyone got the first two doses, he said.

“However, we won’t keep hundreds of vaccination centres open. Most likely, those who have not got vaccinated will have to go to designated locations to receive the vaccine.”

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School attendance high as parents have faith in teachers – CTU head

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Teachers and principals protested at Colombo Fort yesterday urging the government to rectify their salary anomalies. The protesters marched from the Fort Railway Station towards the Presidential Secretariat but police did not permit them to proceed beyond the Telecom rounadbout. Pic by Nishan S Priyantha

By Rathindra Kuruwita

School attendance was high Despite inter-provincial travel restrictions, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said yesterday. “The government announced on 22 October that primary sections of all schools would be reopened on 25 October. Despite the short notice the attendance was high, and this is testament to the faith parents have in teachers,” he said.Primary sections of 9,155 schools recommenced yesterday.

“However, we will only teach. Teachers do a lot of additional work instead of teaching and most people who slander us have no idea about this,” he said.

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath urged relevant authorities to provide safe and adequate transport facilities to students. It was vital that those vehicles were ventilated, and social distancing was maintained.

“We urge parents to buy reusable face masks for kids. If your child has any symptoms of COVID such as fever and cold, don’t send him/her to school until you are certain this is not COVID. Teach your child the importance of washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. This is the way we can ensure there is no spread in the school system,” Dr. Herath said.

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