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International experts due next month to examine Victoria dam

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By Ifham Nizam

A team of international experts would be here next month to examine the Victoria dam built with a British grant in the 1980s and the government would go all out to maintain the dam according to international standards, said Mahaweli Zones Canals and Settlements Infrastructure Development State Minister, Siripala Gamlath.

The Minister told the media yesterday that all arrangements had been made for the foreign team to visit the country.

Engineers and the technical officers attached to the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority had been using modern equipment to monitor the stability of the dam round the clock due to the recent tremors in the vicinity, Gamlath said.

Gamlath said he had inspected all the monitoring machines installed there to obtain information about the functions and the stability of the dam and the seismometers.

Quoting engineers in charge of the dam, the Minister said that the stability of the Victoria Dam was 100% , and no damages had been caused due to the recent earth tremors felt in the region.

The team of experts would also visit Randenigala, Kotmale and Senanayake Samudraya dams, Gamlath said.

The 210 MW Victoria Hydro power Project Dam was declared open by then British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher. It was built by the internationally reputed British builders Balfour Beatty Nuttall. The scheme also irrigates the farmlands in the Mahaweli B and C Zones.

Mahaweli Zones Canals and Settlements Infrastructure Development State Ministry, Secretary Wasantha Palugaswewa said the expert team would evaluate reports next year and thereafter that expert team would issue a 30-year guarantee for the stability of the Victoria Dam as such a certificate was mandatory for all main reservoirs.

Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority Director General Sunil S Perera said that a discussion was held with the Geological and Civil Engineering Faculty of the University of Peradeniya. It sent a team of experts for a field visit of the Victoria dam complex later and the team had made recommendations for the future cause of action to be taken, he said.

He said a 3D movable robot had been installed to check 74 spots of the dam and issue data daily and, accordingly, the safety of the Dam could be assured 100%.

He also said although there were lime deposits in the surrounding areas of the dam had been built on a stable site. The soil samples collected 40 years ago before the dam was constructed on the site were still available for testing if necessary, he said.

Deputy Director General (Technical Services) P.G. Gunapala, Director Main Dams and Reservoirs Rohana Aruppala, Engineer in Charge of the Victoria Reservoir Wasantha Ehalapitiya were also present at the media briefing.



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CEBEU guns for ex-Chairman Ferdinando

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by Ifham Nizam

The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) Friday  said that they are in the process of collecting evidence against former Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando over the recent statement he made on a proposed power project with India.

A senior engineer said that there is a high possibility that the seasoned civil servant dragged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to disrepute because he didn’t see eye to eye with the President.

Eng. Isuru Kasthuriratne, a committee member of the CEBEU and Project Engineer – Mannar Wind Power Project of the Board said they would never allow former chairman to get away easily.

“There are always controversies about him. We would not let this case go. We are in touch with all bodies,” he said.

Kasthuriratne said that very relevant documents were authored and authorized by the former chairman and “he cannot simply say he is not aware of this and that.”

Ferdinando on June 11, tendered his resignation following the controversy he sparked over the planned 500 MW unsolicited wind power project here by India’s Adani group.

“The Adani group at first proposed to sell power to the CEB at 6.50 US cents per unit,” CEBEU President Anil Ranjith told journalists recently.

Despite numerous attempts, the former CEB chairman was not available for comment.

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Dilshan Wirasekara, new CSE Chairman

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The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) announced the appointment of Dilshan Wirasekara as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CSE with effect from Friday (24).

Wirasekara has served on the Board of the CSE since 21st November 2017 and succeeds Dumith Fernando, who steps down as the Chairman after completing his two-year tenure.

Wirasekara is the Director/Chief Executive Officer of one of the leading investment banking firms, First Capital Holdings PLC, offering a diverse range of financial services in Government Securities, Corporate Finance and Advisory, Asset Management and Stock Brokering, which he has been part of since 2013.

He currently is the chairman of the Investment Subcommittee of the CSE and also serves on the Risk and Audit Committee of the CSE as well as the CSE/SEC joint committees on Digitalization and the Central Counter Party System (CCP).

An Investment banker by profession with a career spanning over 26 years, comprising diversified expertise in financial services, including banking, treasury and investment management, capital market strategy, and corporate finance advisory services.

Wirasekara specializes in Asset and Liability Risk Management, having secured the accolade of leading and representing two Sri Lankan companies in winning the International Bank Asset and Liability competition organized annually by the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), German Investment Corporation (DEG), and Proparco – a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Development (AFD).

Wirasekara is an alumnus of INSEAD, having completed his Executive Professional Education at INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, France. He is also an alumnus of AOTS, Tokyo, Japan.

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NCE on Govt’s focus on directing public servants to private sector employment

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National Chamber of Exporters has given the a proposal to the Prime Minister and copied it to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government on providing employment opportunities to government servants in the private sector companies for a specified period.

The Chamber said in a release: Through Media sources we got to know that The Ministry of Public Administration has appointed a committee to look into the possibility of granting five years of leave to government employees to work in the private sector.

Its states that a seven-member committee has been appointed for this purpose and that the said committee is to submit its report to the Cabinet of Ministers within two weeks.

Sri Lankan exporters are proposing to absorb public sector employees for employment in the sector to relieve the burden of wages and related costs on the Government.

The Export Sector has been able to sustain business and has also reached the pre pandemic level of an average of USD.01 billion export revenue during the period January to April 2022. Before the dawn of the pandemic, exporters were facing difficulties with lack of skilled workers. However, during the pandemic, many exporters were compelled to downsize operations and lay off employees which has created a vacuum in crucial areas of operations.

In current scenario, considering the financial burden and the reportedly excessive workforce attached to the public sector, NCE member exporters are proposing following options in reaching a win-win agreement for both government and the export sector. It is to be noted that labour requirements of exporters vary according to the relevant industry, yet in general all categories could be considered.

1. Any government employee in the permanent carder is eligible to apply for employment in the export sector, excluding from following institutions as they are involved in law enforcement in the country which may lead to conflict of interests.

a) Department of Police

b) Department of Inland Revenue

c) Department of Customs

d) Department of Excise

 2.Government to grant unpaid leave up to a maximum of 59 months.

 3.Employer will offer a “Temporary Labour Contract “to such selected individuals which include: –

 a) Period of contract for 59 months (because on completion of the 60th month, the employee will be eligible for Gratuity.)

b) Their employment will be in accordance with the laws and statutes under which the respective private sector company’s  employees of similar cadre is employed.

c) Leave entitlement as per employer’s policy on leave

d) Employment contract can be terminated with either party giving 30 days’ written notice.

e) In case of maternity leave, a number of stipulated days will be available as unpaid leave.

f)  At the end of 59 months, the government to absorb such individuals back to the public sector employment as per pertinent rules and regulations.

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