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GTF admits TNA suffered serious setback, declares intention to work with govt.

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The UK-based Global Tamil Front (GTF), in a statement on the Aug 5 general election says the TNA’s power has eroded on two fronts – TNA could not live up to the expectation of the electorate despite participating fully in the system of governance dominated by the Southern parties as regards the aspirations of the Tamils for autonomy and their need for economic upliftment.

The GTF has sent the following statement to The Island: “The GTF congratulates the election officials, all winning and losing candidates, as well as all citizens of the country for having been part of a relatively peaceful election process, even in the midst of the global pandemic.

We congratulate Mahinda Rajapaksa, the leader of the Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) for the resounding victory at this election. Mahinda is a highly experienced politician with immense popularity among the Sinhala Buddhist constituents, and he is uniquely placed to address some of the fundamental problems that afflicted this country for decades, including addressing the apprehensions and aspirations of the Tamils and other minority communities. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rule in the past have often been characterised by an unbridled sense of triumphalism, but presently at the peak of his power and stature, there is a golden opportunity to imprint ‘generosity towards all citizens’ as his enduring mark on the country.

Eleven years after the end of the war, the Tamil political landscape is changing. Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) Parliamentary representation has reduced to 10 from the 16 it had won in 2015, though it unquestionably remains the predominant political party that represents Tamil national interests throughout the Northern and Eastern provinces.

Clearly TNA’s power has eroded on two fronts – TNA could not deliver on the expectation of the electorate despite participating fully in the system of Governance dominated by the Southern parties, both with regard to the aspirations of the Tamils for autonomy as well as their need for economic upliftment. The effect of imposed demographic changes on the electoral outcomes and the differences on the political dynamics between the Northern and Eastern Provinces are also becoming more apparent.

These are serious challenges to the political parties that base Tamil communities’ political aspirations as their defining identity. While it is important that they do all that is possible to collaborate among them (perhaps as a single block) and also engage with other political parties in the new Parliament to protect and foster Tamil interests, it is crucial that Tamil parties strive to articulate a long term vision and action plan that should comprehensively address Tamil people’s political, economic, educational and cultural aspirations in a principled and pragmatic manner.

This is perhaps the most important takeaway from this election for all Tamil parties. Not properly heeding to this powerful message the election has eloquently conveyed could lead to decay and decimation of Tamil nationalistic politics in Sri Lanka.

GTF congratulates newly elected MPs Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and C.V. Vigneswaran who have been ardent champions of Tamil cause and to TNA which remains the leading Tamil political party for the Tamils with Sampanthan at its helm. We also welcome TNA spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran’s acknowledgement of the electoral setback and their preparedness to address the causes expeditiously, and his call for all Tamil parties to work together in the larger interests of Tamil people.

On our part, GTF would like to reiterate its commitment to work with all elected Parliamentarians and other relevant stakeholders to achieve equality, justice, peace, respect and prosperity for all.”

 

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Udaya questions why CPC prevented from entering LPG market

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Minister Gammanpila at the abandoned Sapugaskanda facility

…reveals Rs 37 mn loss suffered during Asantha’s tenure as Chairman

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila recently alleged that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had suffered Rs 37 mn loss due to an abortive bid made by the state enterprise to enter the LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in 2008.

Lawmaker Gammanpila, who is also the leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, said that the CPC had made the attempt in violation of an agreement with Shell and Laugfs Gas to supply its entire output of LPG from the Sapugaskanda refinery to the above mentioned companies.

The Minister said so after inspecting an abandoned gas filling facility at the CPC facility at Sapugaskanda. The visit took place, on Thursday (24), after a three-member committee headed by the Energy Ministry’s head of Internal Audit D. P. S. J. Kumara inquired into the failed operation.

The CPC undertook the project during former national cricketer Ashantha de Mel’s tenure as the CPC Chairman. A. H. M. Fowzie had been the minister in charge of the subject.

The Minister called for a report when the media revealed that the facility had been abandoned a decade back.

Gammanpila vowed to reveal the person who had caused losses to the CPC, having misled its Board of Directors as regards the viability of the project.

The PHU leader requested state enterprise Litro Gas to explore the possibility of accommodating the facility in its current production setup. The minister described the facility installed at Sapugaskanda as technologically outdated even at the time 2008 administration acquired it.

When the CPC made an attempt to enter the LPG market, Laugfs successfully moved the Supreme Court against it. The CPC abandoned the facility following the Supreme Court directive.

The Energy Minister questioned how the CPC had been prevented from entering the gas market. Underscoring the importance of market competition, the lawmaker said that the Energy Ministry intended to inquire into how the CPC reached an understanding with competitors that prevented the state enterprise from entering the LPG market. The minister said that he would examine the obstacles placed before the CPC in entering the market without undermining Litro.

Declaring that Sri Lanka had substantial natural gas deposits in the Mannar basin, the Energy Minister said that the government intended to enter the gas market. Attorney-at-law Gammanpila said that a new enterprise would be established under the CPC to provide healthy competition.

Addressing the post-Cabinet media briefing on Sept. 10, co-Cabinet spokesperson Gammanpila said that Surath Ovitigama had been named the Director-General of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat and Saliya Wickramasuriya had been appointed advisor.

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Saumya Liyanage removed from posts of Dean and Professor 

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From M.A. Kaleel, Kalmunai Corr. 

Professor Saumya Liyanage of the University of Visual and Performing Arts has been summarily removed from the posts of Professor and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies he was holding at the university. 

 The decision was taken by the University Council chaired by the Competent Authority of the University Professor Abayaratne Bandara. 

 According to the Council, the decision for his removal is that he had not obtained a postgraduate degree by research (Master or PhD) within the probationary period of eight years. When a lecturer is appointed on probationary basis, he is given eight years to complete postgraduate degree––a master’s or a PhD.  

Liyanage holds a PhD from La Trobe University, Australia and he claims he submitted his PhD thesis within the stipulated period of 8 years, and the university has recommended him for the award of PhD with minor corrections. The effective date of PhD could be the date of submission of corrected thesis or the date of annual convocation. It differs from university to university. 

Liyanage, who joined the university in 2007, was supposed to obtain his PhD before 2015, but the university has taken 5 years to detect that he has not completed his PhD within the probationary period. He was promoted as a Professor and the Dean of Graduate Studies.  

 Professor Abayaratne Bandara also served as the Director General of National Institute of Education.  When Bandula Gunawardena became the Education Minister, he removed Dr. Upali S. Sedera from the post of DG only a few months after his appointment and appointed Professor Abayaratne Bandara to the post.

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SF under delusion that he is still Army Chief – SLPP MP

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‘Even Vasu is capable of flooring him’

By Saman Indrajith

Badulla District SLPP MP Chamara Sampath Dassanayake told Parliament, yesterday, that the SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was under the delusion that he was still commanding the army.

“He should realise that he is in Parliament. Yesterday, he threatened to take on the entire front row of government ranks single-handedly. We do not need an entire row of members to match him. We could send a single person that is our minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

MP Fonseka thinks all those here have passed only Grade Eight. What is wrong with a person with that kind of educational qualification becoming an MP? What about the late Mr. D. S. Senanayake? He was the first prime minister of the country.  He had passed only the fifth standard. We have had leaders who had not studied beyond Grade Eight. Didn’t they govern this country well? On the contrary, where is UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was considered educated and intelligent? What has he done? He is not even in this Parliament today. Was he able to govern this country successfully?”

“We know a lot about him and his ways of conduct. When he was the commander of the Army he sent a helicopter to Colombo to fetch two loaves of bread, while denying so many wounded soldiers the chance to be flown to Colombo. He also brought water from the Iyakkachi well in Vettailaikerni to Colombo because that was his favourite drinking water. We know all this”.

MP Dassanayake said that they had come to Parliament with great trust in it. Yet, he said that there were no thugs in the parliament and no room would be spared to turn the Ninth parliament into the same situation as the Eighth parliament.

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