JVP calls Independence Square mall lease into question; govt. denies any wrongdoing
The Independence Square Arcade had been leased out to Softlogic Holdings for a period of 10 years following proper tender procedures, State Minister Nalaka Godahewa told Parliament yesterday.
The Minister said the Board of Directors of the Urban Development Authority had decided to lease out the building as it was running at a loss.
Godahewa said the shopping complex had been leased out in keeping with accepted tender procedures.
Two Companies Softlogic Holdings and Abans PLC had tendered bids and Softlogic Holdings was chosen by the tender committee, he said.
State Minister Godahewa said the company would be paying Rs. 10 million per month as lease rental.
He furnished the details while responding to a question raised by JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who urged the government to reveal the lease agreement.
The previous day, MP Dissanayake questioned the ten-year lease on the shopping arcade to a private firm for management, asking to reveal whether open tenders were called.
Dissanayake told parliament that the Independence Square Arcade had been built at a cost of 700 million rupees in taxpayer money as part of the city beautification project.
He questioned the process behind the Urban Development Authority, which comes under Minister Godahewa.
“State Minister Nalaka Godahewa should make a statement to the Parliament on whether an open tender process was called to lease the Arcade Shopping Complex,” the JVP leader said.
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
Parents can be tried for son’s school shooting: Appeals court
N Korea tests new underwater nuclear attack ‘drone’: State media
Showers in Sabaragamuwa, Central, Uva, Southern, North-Western and North-Central provinces in afternoon or night
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
News5 days ago
Sri Lankan recognized as a Fellow by Society of Architectural Historians
News5 days ago
New orchid species discovered in Walankada Forest Reserve
News4 days ago
Geoffrey Bawa exhibition opens in New Delhi
Editorial6 days ago
‘Shree Anna’ and Sri Lanka
Features4 days ago
A tribute to a great leader
Breaking News6 days ago
Arrest warrant issued for Putin over alleged war crimes
News1 day ago
Decorated gunship pilot blacklisted for appearing on political stage
News4 days ago
MPs urged to defeat move to conduct Law College exams only in English medium