Connect with us

news

JVP says at this rate there will be no Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

The JVP led National Intellectuals’ Orgnisation yesterday warned that the number of COVID-19 patients in the Colombo District had doubled during the last four weeks and if the government did not get its act together there would be no Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations in April.

Addressing the media at NIO office in Battarmulla, NIO Chairman Prof Chandana Abeyratne said 6,903 COVID-19 patients had been reported from the Colombo District four weeks back and the number had climbed to 15,168. “This is a dangerous trend. A new strain of coronavirus has been detected in England. London and South East England have been locked down. Most European countries stopped flights to/from London and there is a trend of increased spread in the winter. In Sri Lanka too the increase in the number of patients is rapid. The government should at least now take this matter seriously if it has any concerns about the lives of the people.”

Pro. Abeyratne said that the government allowed the propaganda of locally produced syrup as a remedy for COVID-19 because it had no other means to tackle the pandemic. “The government should commence a systematic procedure and should prevent the myths being propagated because people without help will cling onto anything like the herbal syrup which has later been proved a hoax. If it fails to get its act together in facing the pandemic, there would be no Sinhala and Tamil new year celebrations in April.”

NIO member Prof Krishantha Abeysena said: “The government’s anti-COVID-19 drive is now leaderless. Dr Sudharshani Fernandopulle was recently appointed the State Minister of COVID-19 Prevention. But all statutory bodies fighting the pandemic are under a separate minister. She has no power. The Army Commander is now doing the job of a media spokesman. Assistance of the tri forces, the police and all others is needed to fight this pandemic and there should be a centralised mechanism for this purpose. There is no coordination among health sector organisations in fighting the pandemic. We have a strong community health service but it should be properly led and managed with coordination of other sectors to get results. We must all get together and urge the government to make a course correction as regards its anti-COVID-19 campaign.”

NIO Secretary retired Epidemiologist Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe said: “We should learn from the situation in other countries facing the same threat. There is a possibility of a pandemic turning worse and the death toll increasing exponentially. The number of COVID-19 cases in this country has increased 13 times within the past 10 weeks. So, there is the danger the death toll increasing during the next few days. The most important thing at present is to reduce the number of deaths. The majority of COVID-19 patients here die due non-communicable diseases. There should be decisive action to prevent those who are suffering from NCDs from contracting the virus. As per records of the Department of Census and Statistics one out of every three persons above 60 years of age is suffering from high blood pressure. One out of every six in that age group is suffering from heart disease or cholesterol or diabetes. Some have more than one disease. These are the most vulnerable from the COVID-19 virus. As at now there are more than 8,800 in hospitals suffering from the pandemic. So, the hospital staff members are working without a break for the past 10 weeks. These are serious issues.”



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

news

SJB: Excise, FM officials all out to pocket Rs 1 bn

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

Matara District SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana yesterday told Parliament that the Finance Ministry and Excise Department officials had misled Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal in order to obtain billion rupees, fraudulently.

The officials had got a contract for printing stickers or barcodes to be displayed on bottles of liquor awarded to an Indian company.

“The project would result in one-billion-rupee loss to the government coffers annually,” the MP said, adding that the money being taken from the public purse would end up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

Pathirana said that the Excise Department had commenced a project to paste stickers on bottles of liquor to differentiate them from the fake and counterfeit bottles in the market.

“As per this project’s requirements, 32 million stickers would be needed per month. The stickers are to be purchased from Madras Security Printers company of India. This method was proposed in 2016 but it failed and the officials thereafter decided to introduce a barcode system.

“The cost of a sticker at 25 cents and the new barcode system will cost of two rupees a piece. This is a dubious deal. It seems that the Finance Ministry officials and the Excise Department heads have ganged up to give the contract to the Indian company and get commissions. There are many unanswered questions. First, the contract of printing the barcode too has been given to the MSP company, which could not secure the first contract. I want to know whether the proper procurement process has been followed. The second question is whether the barcodes would be up to the standards listed in the tender. Third question is who had selected the MSP company which is black-listed in India after being found guilty of frauds with Indian liquor companies in providing stickers to them. MSP has been blacklisted in many other countries. The company has been banned in Sudan and Liberia for supplying the stickers to private companies. The last question is whether this fraud is being committed with the knowledge of ministers of this government.”

Continue Reading

news

Reserves fall to lowest since 2009, rupee strengthening to be short-lived: report

Published

on

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Sri Lanka’s Foreign reserves had dropped to USD 4.1bn in March 2021, the lowest since August 2009, on the back of over US$ 4bn outstanding debt payment during April-December 2021 period, a report issued by First Capital Research yesterday said.

According to the report, rupee appreciation is likely to be short-lived considering Sri Lanka’s depleting foreign reserve position, high foreign currency debt repayment requirement and limited funding sources available in the market are expected to further increase depreciation pressure on the currency during 2Q and 3Q.

“We maintain our exchange rate target for 1H2021 at Rs. 196-202 with 2021 year-end target at Rs. 205-215 as mentioned in our ‘Investment Strategy 2021 – January 2021,” the report recalls.

“Sri Lankan rupee appreciated 5% against the US dollar over the last 2 market days reversing the continuous accelerated depreciation witnessed in January-April 2021. On 12th April, Sri Lankan rupee recorded a historical low of Rs. 201:1 US$. Ministry of Finance (MoF) reported on the same day that the government of Sri Lanka entered into a loan agreement with the China Development Bank (CDB) for US$ 500mn and MoF expected the funds to be disbursed during the same week. Following the announcement, the market registered a steep appreciation with mid-rate recording at Rs. 190.9 on April 19,” it says.

The total foreign debt repayment (capital and interest) for 2021 is US$ 6 bn, according to the report.

Meanwhile FC Research believes that the temporary appreciation in USD-LKR, may adversely impact earnings of export companies such as Hayleys, Haycarb, Dipped Products, MGT Knitting Mills, Teejay Lanka, Expolanka Holdings etc. in the short term.

“However, considering the potential future currency pressure, we expect an overall depreciation of approximately 12% for the rupee providing a significant gain for companies with foreign currency revenue”, FC research predicts.

Continue Reading

news

Govt. asks Opposition not to propagate lies

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday accused the Opposition MPs of abusing parliamentary privileges to mislead the public by propagating lies about the Easter Sunday terror attacks. 

Addressing Parliament, Minister Fernando said: “The Opposition MPs level wild allegations in the House knowing that they have the cover of parliamentary privilege. If they have anything substantial or any knowledge of the perpetrators of the Easter attacks still not in custody they can go to the CID and lodge complaints so that such complaints could be investigated.”  

Fernando said so after SJB Galle District MP Manusha Nanayakkara had told the House that he possessed evidence of those who carried out the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Nanayakkara also said that the facts that he had were not in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday carnage.

“You are making various statements regarding the Easter Sunday terror attacks in the Chamber without any proof because you know that you have Parliamentary privilege. You even quoted some statements which are not included in the PCoI report. How did you obtain such information? Why didn’t you complain about this to the CID in the first place? Your action is aimed at misleading the public,” the Minister said. 

Minister Fernando said that the Opposition should stop insulting Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith by misinterpreting the latter’s statements. 

“When you are in the Government you never said that this is a Buddhist country. Now you are insulting the Cardinal too. You should not do that,” the Minister said. 

“The former Government should be responsible for the terror attack. Now we are trying to punish those who are responsible for it. We will take action against everyone who is responsible. You should support us, not try to obstruct the on-going investigations,” Minister Fernando said.

Continue Reading

Trending