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JRJ, Gamini, MR saved country from massive power crisis – Dullus



By Ifham Nizam

Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma said yesterday that Sri Lanka would have faced a minimum 16-hour power cut on a daily basis if not for the visionary initiatives by the late President J. R. Jayewardene and the late Minister Gamini Dissanayake to commence the Mahaweli Development Project, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bold decision to commence the first coal fired power plant complex at Norochcholai.

“Irrespective of political differences, correct decisions taken with regard to the power sector should be praised,” Minister Alahapperuma told a group of journalists invited to the new Power Ministry headquarters in Kollupitiya.

Alahapperuma said that minimising the use of fossil fuel remained the top priority as instructed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

April 6 had recorded highest peak use (2,768 MW) at 6.55 p.m, the Minister said, adding that diesel and furnace oil plants released over 13 million kilos of carbon on a daily basis here to generate 15.3 gigawatt hours, which he termed was worse than cutting down 1,000 trees.

Minister Alahapperuma said that the country spent a lot of money on fossil fuels and it was important to increase the output from renewable energy.

“We are determined to reduce electricity generation from diesel and furnace oil to five percent by 2025 and to one per cent by 2030.”

Alahapperuma said that it had been planned to add 600MW of solar power to the national grid from 7,000 power plants to be constructed within a few years. He said since 2013, after Norochcholai Power Plants One and Two, no major or stable power plant had been added to the grid though 550MW from various sources had been blocked since 2014. “I don’t want to dwell on the past, and for my part I will go all to achieve the projected targets, and if there are any mistakes or problems I should be held responsible.”

Minister Alahapperuma  said that wind and solar power generation was being expanded countrywide with wind plants being equipped with battery storage units to ensure an uninterrupted electricity supply

“We are planning to equip selected Samurdhi families with 5kW solar panels they can install on their rooftops as another source of power,” he said.

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SL gets Rs 452 mn for saving ill-fated tanker: Rs. 3.4 bn asked for



By Ifham Nizam and Rathindra Kuruwita

The Marine Enviro-nment Protection Authority (MEPA) yesterday received Rs. 452 million from London for having saved MT New Diamond, a super oil tanker that caught fire in the Sri Lanka’s territorial waters last year.

MEPA General Manager, Dr. P. B. Terney Pradeep Kumara told The Island that Rs. 442 million had come for the services rendered by the Sri Lanka Navy, MEPA and Rs. 10 million by way of a fine imposed on the Ship’s Captain.

However, Sri Lanka has to receive a much larger amount for the damage caused to the marine environment, Dr. Kumara said. Following the incident, Sri Lankan authorities filed charges against the Captain of the ill-fated vessel and made a claim for $2.4 million from the ship’s owners for the firefighting and pollution prevention efforts.

Twenty experts from the Universities of Moratuwa, Ruhuna and Sri Jayewardenepura submitted their recommendations as regards the damage to the environment, to the Attorney General. Based on the report, the Attorney General’s Department had asked for Rs. 3.4 billion (around USD 19 million) as compensation for environmental damage, the Coordinating Officer for the Attorney General, state counsel Nishara Jayaratne said.

Soon they would have discussions with the lawyers of the shipping agent concerned on compensation for environmental damage caused, she said.

Dr. Kumara, who is the former Head of the Department of Oceanography/Marine Geology of the Ruhuna University, said that the incident had caused deaths among marine species due to spillage of some toxic fuel from the vessel.

The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 MT oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out in its engine room as the vessel was passing the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on September 3, 2020.

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PSC on gender equality meets for the first time



State Minister, Fernandopulle flanked by two other PSC members

Special attention on microfinance

The Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to further gender equality, to investigate instances of discrimination against women and to present recommendations to Parliament, focused on microfinance loans that are currently affecting a large number of women in Sri Lanka, when they met for the first time in Parliament recently.

The meeting was chaired by the State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle.

It was also revealed that the Cabinet had approved the re-establishment of an institution to regulate Microfinance loans in Sri Lanka.

The MPs also discussed the role of the Select Committee. They decided that the primary role of the Committee should be to investigate women’s grievances and all forms of discrimination based on gender, including workplace violence.

Another task before this committee is to examine and review laws that can be used to enhance gender equality, encourage relevant ministries and authorities to formulate plans to further gender equality and to allocate financial resources.

The Committee will also try to encourage greater women’s representation in decision-making bodies at the national and provincial levels as well as in government, civil society and the private sector.

MPs Rohini Kaviratne, (Dr.) Harini Amarasuriya, M. Udayakumar, S. Sritharan, Rohana Bandara and the Secretary to the Committee, Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of the Parliament Kushani Rohanadheera were also present at the meeting.



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A/L Examination from October 04 to 30



The 2021 GCE Advanced Level examination would be held from October 4 to 30, Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday addressing the media at his Ministry.

Minister Peiris said the examination was earlier scheduled to be held in August.

The Grade 5 scholarship examination would be held on October 03 and the 2021 GCE Ordinary Level (O/L) examination in the last week of January 2022, the Minister said.

“Usually, schools are open for academic activities for around 200 days a year. But in 2020, schools were open for about 150 days. It was around 130 days in the Western Province. We were not able to fill this gap with online classes due to lack of internet facilities in many parts of the country,” he said.

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