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Govt. extends largesse to 10,000 destitute families in Hambantota District



By Ifham Nizam

Presidential Task Force Chairman Basil Rajapaksa had given the green light for the provision of drinking water and electricity free of charge to 10,000 destitute families in the Hambantota District, the Environment Ministry said.

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that he had raised the matter at a recent meeting under the chairmanship of Basil Rajapaksa at Temple Trees.

“As far as I know, there are about 10,000 families in the Hambantota district alone without proper sanitary facilities. I pointed out that there were a large number of families all over the country who did not have access to pipe-borne water, and electricity. What was the reason? Basil Rajapaksa asked me. I told him that those people had no money. Accordingly, it was decided to launch a programme to provide free electricity, drinking water and proper toilet facilities to all those families before the Sinhala New Year this year.”

Amaraweera said that the government had decided to conduct another sand survey and a water related electronic survey on the rivers in the country.

“There are 103 rivers in our natural drainage system, fulfilling the drinking and agricultural water needs of the people. Among them, several major rivers meet the drinking water needs of the urban population.”

The Minister said that although well water was used for drinking in some areas, the vast majority of the urban population could not do so..

Citing examples, he said people living in and around Colombo were prohibited from using groundwater for drinking purposes as it was polluted.

The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau in 2019 conducted electronic surveys of water and sand.

“At present, sand mining in rivers has increased. Therefore, I have instructed the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau to commence fresh surveys immediately to find out the possible damage to those rivers”, Amaraweera said.

He said that if the river bottom was deepened too much due to excessive sand mining, seawater would begin to seep into the river. Then the public would have to face a serious drinking water problem.



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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded




The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death



By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months



Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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