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Interim relief will cause havoc counsel for gas company maintains



By Chitra Weerarathne

Additional Solicitor General, Farzana Jameel, PC said that the Consumer Affairs Authority had been directed to recall the old cylinders of gas from the market and to introduce new cylinders with a new colour wrap in future.

Nagananda Kodituwakku told the Court of Appeal that the day before yesterday a mother of four children had died. Public safety should be taken into account. The Attorney General should not be allowed to abuse his office.

Attorney-at-Law Harsha Amarasekera, PC said that the petition filed against the LP gas companies, did not give a proper picture.

The Court questioned whether the gas producing institutions would introduce a label indicating the composition of the gas, etc.

HAmarasekera replied that he needed to get instructions from his clients on that subject. He appeared for the producers of Litro Gas Pvt. Limited. He explained that a chemical was to be introduced to the LP gas so that a smell would emanate if there was any leak. Incidents of accidents this year were less than last year.

Social media have highlighted the events.

The President had instructed the police to produce a report on incidents of explosions, counsel Amarasekera said.

The Counsel asked for time to ascertain the composition of the LP gas as regards propane and methane.

Additional Solicitor General Farzana Jameel, PC said that directions had been given by the authorities to recall old sealed cylinders from the market. The Consumer Affairs Authority would have a new colour wrap on the cylinders in the future.

The Committee appointed by the President had submitted the report on the issue, Counsel Amarasekera said.

Petitioner Naganada Kodituwakku said that the Minister himself had admitted in Parliament there was a danger to people. The composition in Litro Gas containers was wrong as regards propane-butane ratio.

The petitioner requested for interim relief against the distribution of cylinders of gas.

Amarasekera PC said that the interim relief sought by Kodituwakku would create havoc. The Government Analyst had said that most of the media reports as regards the composition and explosion were false.

The petitioner was asking for interim relief only to get publicity and not to protect the people, counsel Amarasekera alleged.

Interim relief would affect everyone using gas. Only a very small percentage of gas consumers had been injured, he added.

Counsel Suren de Silva appearing for Laugfs Gas Pvt. Limited said that social media had created havoc. The problem was not with the composition of the gas, not even with the cylinders, but might be with the new accessories introduced.

The bench comprised Justice K. Priyantha Fernando (President of the Court of Appeal) and Justice Sampath B. Abeykoon.

Hearing is to be resumed today (15).

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Bid to use private member’s motion to put off LG polls alleged



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has questioned the rationale behind President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s warning that the military will be deployed to curb protest vis-a-vis a Foreign Ministry undertaking to boost foreign trade and investment.

Addressing the Parliament, during the Budget committee stage debate, on 28 Nov., Prof. Peiris said the Foreign Ministry couldn’t expect to succeed in economic diplomacy while the government was resorting to repressive measures.

Prof. Peiris asked who would want to invest in a country where the people were warned of dire consequences if they held protests, and elections were arbitrarily postponed.

Referring to the long overdue Provincial Council polls, Prof. Peiris discussed how postponement of scheduled Local Government polls could further jeopardise Sri Lanka’s standing among the international community.

Prof. Peiris alleged that the government was planning to use private members’ motion submitted by Attorney-at-Law Premanath C. Dolawatta (SLPP, Colombo District) to put off scheduled Local Government polls further. The ex-Minister claimed that the motion meant to enhance youth representation in governance would be utilised to delay the polls indefinitely. He recalled how the Yahapalana government had postponed the Provincial Council elections indefinitely.

The rebel SLPP Chairman pointed out that the government had chosen MP Dolawatta’s motion, handed over recently, though SJB’s Imthiaz Bakeer Markar submitted a private member’s motion on the same lines much earlier.

MP Dolawatta handed over a copy of his motion to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct 31. Prof. Peiris said that they wouldn’t find fault with the lawmaker for making proposals which the academic said were timely.

Prof. Peiris warned Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, that Sri Lanka wouldn’t be an appealing destination for investments unless the government adopted tangible measures to curb corruption. Shocking disclosures at parliamentary watchdog committees underscored that corruption was at unprecedented level and needed immediate attention.

Speaking on behalf of the breakaway SLPP faction, Nidahasa Jathika Sabhawa aka Freedom People’s Congress Prof. Peiris said that the recent declaration by the World Bank that it would audit the procurement and distribution of fertiliser here meant that the world had no faith in our system.

Commenting on assurances given by the government that a new Anti-Corruption Bill would be introduced soon, Prof. Peiris said that existing laws were quite sufficient. The issue at hand is absence of political will to battle corruption, the former Minister said, meant flight of professionals and intolerable increase in taxes on business wouldn’t encourage Foreign Ministry’s drive.

At the onset of his speech, lawmaker Peiris asked whether the government was genuine about the recent declaration that the national issue could be resolved by the enactment of a new Constitution by the next Independence Day. Who would take such a promise seriously against the backdrop of all previous attempts undertaken by far more stable governments failing to achieve the desired results? the former law professor asked. The former minister also questioned the feasibility of forming an apparatus on the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Prof. Peiris asked whether those now at the helm really had the wherewithal to meet the South African standards.

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State FM assures there won’t be shortage of milk powder



State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament yesterday (29) that there would be no shortage of milk powder in the coming days due to the Customs holding a consignment of six containers of milk powder, imported into the country, for violating regulations.

Minister Siyambalapitiya said the six containers had 105,375 kilos of full cream milk powder, imported from New Zealand, via Malaysia. It reached the Colombo port on 20 Oct. It was only after the consignment had arrived in the Port that the importers submitted the letters to get the consignment released from the Controller Imports and Exports. Arrangements would be made to release the stock from the harbour on the recommendation of the Secretary to the Ministry of Trade and Food Security.

As such, there is no need for permission from the Controller Import and Export to release the stock, the minister said, adding that there were no limitations imposed on importing milk powder and there would be no cause for panic buying in fear of a shortage of milk powder in the coming days.

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Dolawatta responds to GL




SLPP MP Premanath C. Dolawatta said his private member’s motion wouldn’t lead to the postponement of local government polls. He said he felt the need to restore the 25% quota for youth, even before he entered Parliament, consequent to the August 2020 general election. The government and the Opposition could quickly reach a consensus on the proposals, and avoid unnecessary complications. MP Dolawatta said so when The Island sought his response to accusations made by Prof. Peiris, who said that time was rapidly running out for Local Government polls. As the nomination process needed to be commenced soon to ensure that 341 Local Government bodies could be constituted by 20 March 2023.

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