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JVP: Govt. using brawn, not brains

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By Saman Indrajith

The incumbent government is headed by those who use their brawn instead of brains to solve problems, says the JVP.

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, addressing the media at the party headquarters, in Pelawatte yesterday said that problems confronted by the people and their grievances could not be solved by muscle power, but the rulers needed to put their heads together to work out solutions.

“The ministers try to solve people’s problems using their muscle power. The best example was the recent raids carried out against rice millers. The government vowed to break down the so-called rice mafia and got its men to raid warehouses and stores and showed those raids on TV with drama and suspense. The raids could recover only eight hundred kilos of rice. The amount recovered had no significance because the country’s daily consumption of rice was at six million kilos a day. The show of coercive power has not yielded significant results,” Dissanayake said.

“In purchasing paddy the government introduced a controlled price instead of a certified price. If the government had introduced a certified price, the farmers could have made use of that price as the bottom price and could have sold their harvest to a higher price. As a result of controlled prices, they had to sell their paddy at 50 rupees a kilo. After the farmers have sold their paddy, a new price of 55 rupees a kilo has been introduced. Farmers lost five rupees from each kilo because of that jumbling of prices.

“Tea industry is now in its last legs because the plantations could not get chemical input. Tea smallholders have found that they could not yield their normal produce using organic fertilisers. Similarly the maize cultivations too are on the verge of collapse because maize seeds need chemical inputs. Usually, this country imports 1,500 metric tonnes of maize seed. Owing to uncertainty this year the imports decreased to 600 metric tonnes. Of that only around 150 metric tonnes have been sold for cultivation. This shows the uncertainty in the minds of farmers to cultivate maize. This will have direct repercussions on agriculture-output.

“The government promised to help 200,000 farmers, using organic fertilisers. They promised to give each farmer Rs 210,000 to start with. The government put up advertisements promising that. It revised the number of 200,000 farmers to 100,000. Thereafter it announced that each farmer would be paid Rs 150,000. Thereafter the number of farmers to receive the government incentive was reduced from 100,000 to 10,000 and the amount of funds promised decreased to Rs 110,000. Finally the government revised its numbers again and said that one farmer from each Agrarian Service Centre would be given the incentive. There are around 560 such centres in the country. That was how the number of farmers using organic fertiliser was brought down from 200,000 to 560. The senior ministers should have had their heads examined before launching such projects.”



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Two-year reconciliation project spurns Lord Naseby’s disclosure

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EU, Germany funded scheme costs Rs. 8 mn

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Peace Council (NPC) says war-related matters hadn’t been discussed at the nearly two-year-long reconciliation project that brought together students from Eastern, Jaffna, Ruhuna and Sabaragamuwa Universities.

More than 160 students have participated in the project that culminated with a conference on the theme of ‘Plural Sri Lanka: Paths to reconciliation.’ Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris delivered the closing address and responded to questions from the audience.

Pointing out that post-war reconciliation efforts had been badly hampered by allegations that the Sri Lankan military killed over 40,000 civilians on the Vanni east front, The Island sought clarification as regards measures taken by the NPC to improve relations among the communities, and the following questions were raised:

The Island:

During your two-year long project did participants discuss specific war crimes allegations and disclosure made in the House of Lords in Oct 2017 that contradicted unsubstantiated accusations pertaining to 40,000 civilian deaths.

Executive Director NPC Dr. Jehan Perera:

“No, we did not discuss these war-related matters. The project was titled “Creative Youth Engagement for Pluralism” and it focused on the nature of Sri Lanka as a plural society and the value framework that should guide it.  The research papers highlighted the diversity within Sri Lankan society that goes beyond ethnicity and religion.  They included topics such as “Attitudes of Society on Education and Transsexuality: A Comparative Study on the Ideologies of a Community with Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Education,” and “Pluralism and University Subculture: An Ethnological Study on Young Behavior towards Social Cohesion,” and “An Investigative Study of the Challenges Posed by the Changes in the Aboriginal Society.”

The Island:

What is the total cost of the project?

The NPC

: Rs 8 million was spent to train and mentor the writers of the 30 research publications in four universities, translate, review and publish their findings in book form and for the conference which brought the students to Colombo.

Question 3:

What is the GoSL’s contribution?

The NPC:

There was no direct financial support by the government. Four state universities supported through their faculty members and students.

The Island: What is the NPC’s stand on accountability resolution and announcement made in Geneva that the Sri Lankan military would be subjected to a fresh inquiry?

The NPC:

In order to get out of these allegations, there is a need for a credible and independent investigation. Our preference is for a national mechanism that is acceptable to all sides.  Accountability will need to be a part of the reconciliation process.  NPC favours the restorative justice approach which focuses on ensuring justice to victims. This includes an acknowledgement of wrongs done and reparations and institutional reform to ensure that there is non-recurrence. 

 The Island: Are you also engaged in post-war reconciliation projects funded by Norway?

The NPC:

NPC hasn’t obtained funds from Norway for the past five years.

The recently concluded project has been funded by a project called Strengthening Reconciliation Process here jointly funded by the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by Deutsche Gesellsschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the British Council in partnership with the Sri Lankan Government.

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Speaker promises to appoint bi-partisan committee to look into incidents in Parliament

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced in Parliament yesterday (06) that a committee consisting of senior members from the Government and Opposition would be appointed within the week to look into the incidents that took place in Parliament last Friday and Saturday and submit a report.

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High Court Trial-at-Bar orders release of several accused from 11 charges in CB bond auction case

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By AJA Abeynayake

Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar yesterday ordered the release of several accused, including former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke and former Central Bank former Governor Arjuna Mahendra, from 11 charges out of 22 in connection with the Central Bank bond auction held on 31 March, 2016.

Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar held that public property charges against the accused could not be maintained. Indictments had been filed against Perpetual Treasuries Private Ltd (PTL), former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke, CBSL former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius, PTL Chief dealer Kasun Palisena, Chairman of PTL Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitta Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa and Badugoda Hewa Indika Saman Kumara in connection with bond auction held on March 31, 2016.

The case against seventh accused Ranjan Hulugalle was dismissed on preliminary objections raised.

President’s Counsel Anil Silva, Counsel Asela Serasinghe, Hafeel Farisz, Sahan Kulatunga and Vishwaka Peiris appeared for the seventh accused.

The Attorney General’s stance regarding the future cause of action to be informed on 26 Jan. 2022.

The Attorney General had alleged that the PTL had been using the Central Bank’s important undisclosed information to alter the final outcome of the Treasury bond auction and it had a huge impact on the overall national economy as a result of the subtle; the systematic conduct of the offences related to the fraud and had caused injustice to other primary sellers in the bond market, and the PTL had acted cunningly and made a huge profit and conspired to cause a huge loss to the government.

The case was postponed until 26 Jan. 2022.

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