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Lanka gives top priority to sustenance of international maritime services



Representatives of four leading bodies associated with seafaring assignments and maritime services in Lankan seas, Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA), Colombo Logistics, Avant Garde and Rakna Lanka (Pvt) Ltd during a high level meeting co-chaired by Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Relations, Admiral (Retd) Prof Jayanath Colambage and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID- 19 Outbreak, Chief of Defence Staff & Commander of the Army Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva on Monday (17) explored possibilities of continued sustenance of their maritime services, such as ship crew changes, security for floating ships against pirates, etc adhering to best health practices.

Discussions pointed out that the Sri Lanka Navy while playing an exemplary operational role hand in hand with those maritime organizations enormously helped evacuation of hundreds of ship crew members at sea, some of who remained affected with COVID-19 while on board their commercial vessels. The importance of continuing such practices for commercial purposes was highlighted during the proceedings.

Due to the pandemic, the entire industry faced a huge setback and lost a fair share of their profits. Co-chairs attentively gave ear to their grievances and confronting issues and assured the government’s backing for the initiative. Similarly, co-chairs highlighted the significance of preparing a strategic mechanism through which common concerns of those sear farers could be addressed or resolved and their professions well-guaranteed.

The Navy during the height of the epidemic set a record as the first such service provider in the whole of the South Asian region rendering an exemplary service for crewmen at sea, and facilitated stranded ship crew members in sailing ships to sign off or re-join onboard in the seas off Colombo as directed by respective authorities.

The attendees submitted their views and operational proposals for further discussion, review and decision-making during the cordial meeting.

Maj. Gen. Harendra Ranasinghe, Director General Operations Sri Lanka Army, Rear Admiral Y.N Jayarathna, Director General Operations Sri Lanka Navy, Mr H.S Hettiarachchi, Head of Airport Manager, Dr Samitha Ginige, Consultant Epidemiologist, Dr Roshan Sampath and those representatives of shipping agencies, including Mr Ashan Welagedara, Mr Ralph Anandappa, Mr Shano Sabar, Mr Iqram Cutilian from CASA, Major (Retd) Nishshanka Senadhipathi, Chairman, Commander (Retd) Nandana Diyabalanage, Brigadier (Retd) Nishantha Wadugodapitiya, Maj. Gen. (Retd) Rasika Karunathilake of Avant Garde and Mr Eric Ambarangoda, Maj. Gen.(Retd) Chargi Gallage of Colombo Logistics were associated with the day’s arrangement at the Commander’s office.

Brigadier Haren Peris, Brigadier Hirosha Wanigasekara, Director Supply and Transport, Brigadier Wandhitha Mahinkanda, Director Real Estate and Quartering, Colonel Saveen Semage, Deputy Director, Directorate of Army Preventive Medicine and Mental Health Army Headquarters, Brigadier Vipula Chandrasiri, Brigadier Coordination National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID – 19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) were also at the venue.

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Udaya questions why CPC prevented from entering LPG market



Minister Gammanpila at the abandoned Sapugaskanda facility

…reveals Rs 37 mn loss suffered during Asantha’s tenure as Chairman

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila recently alleged that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had suffered Rs 37 mn loss due to an abortive bid made by the state enterprise to enter the LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in 2008.

Lawmaker Gammanpila, who is also the leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, said that the CPC had made the attempt in violation of an agreement with Shell and Laugfs Gas to supply its entire output of LPG from the Sapugaskanda refinery to the above mentioned companies.

The Minister said so after inspecting an abandoned gas filling facility at the CPC facility at Sapugaskanda. The visit took place, on Thursday (24), after a three-member committee headed by the Energy Ministry’s head of Internal Audit D. P. S. J. Kumara inquired into the failed operation.

The CPC undertook the project during former national cricketer Ashantha de Mel’s tenure as the CPC Chairman. A. H. M. Fowzie had been the minister in charge of the subject.

The Minister called for a report when the media revealed that the facility had been abandoned a decade back.

Gammanpila vowed to reveal the person who had caused losses to the CPC, having misled its Board of Directors as regards the viability of the project.

The PHU leader requested state enterprise Litro Gas to explore the possibility of accommodating the facility in its current production setup. The minister described the facility installed at Sapugaskanda as technologically outdated even at the time 2008 administration acquired it.

When the CPC made an attempt to enter the LPG market, Laugfs successfully moved the Supreme Court against it. The CPC abandoned the facility following the Supreme Court directive.

The Energy Minister questioned how the CPC had been prevented from entering the gas market. Underscoring the importance of market competition, the lawmaker said that the Energy Ministry intended to inquire into how the CPC reached an understanding with competitors that prevented the state enterprise from entering the LPG market. The minister said that he would examine the obstacles placed before the CPC in entering the market without undermining Litro.

Declaring that Sri Lanka had substantial natural gas deposits in the Mannar basin, the Energy Minister said that the government intended to enter the gas market. Attorney-at-law Gammanpila said that a new enterprise would be established under the CPC to provide healthy competition.

Addressing the post-Cabinet media briefing on Sept. 10, co-Cabinet spokesperson Gammanpila said that Surath Ovitigama had been named the Director-General of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat and Saliya Wickramasuriya had been appointed advisor.

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Saumya Liyanage removed from posts of Dean and Professor 



From M.A. Kaleel, Kalmunai Corr. 

Professor Saumya Liyanage of the University of Visual and Performing Arts has been summarily removed from the posts of Professor and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies he was holding at the university. 

 The decision was taken by the University Council chaired by the Competent Authority of the University Professor Abayaratne Bandara. 

 According to the Council, the decision for his removal is that he had not obtained a postgraduate degree by research (Master or PhD) within the probationary period of eight years. When a lecturer is appointed on probationary basis, he is given eight years to complete postgraduate degree––a master’s or a PhD.  

Liyanage holds a PhD from La Trobe University, Australia and he claims he submitted his PhD thesis within the stipulated period of 8 years, and the university has recommended him for the award of PhD with minor corrections. The effective date of PhD could be the date of submission of corrected thesis or the date of annual convocation. It differs from university to university. 

Liyanage, who joined the university in 2007, was supposed to obtain his PhD before 2015, but the university has taken 5 years to detect that he has not completed his PhD within the probationary period. He was promoted as a Professor and the Dean of Graduate Studies.  

 Professor Abayaratne Bandara also served as the Director General of National Institute of Education.  When Bandula Gunawardena became the Education Minister, he removed Dr. Upali S. Sedera from the post of DG only a few months after his appointment and appointed Professor Abayaratne Bandara to the post.

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SF under delusion that he is still Army Chief – SLPP MP



‘Even Vasu is capable of flooring him’

By Saman Indrajith

Badulla District SLPP MP Chamara Sampath Dassanayake told Parliament, yesterday, that the SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was under the delusion that he was still commanding the army.

“He should realise that he is in Parliament. Yesterday, he threatened to take on the entire front row of government ranks single-handedly. We do not need an entire row of members to match him. We could send a single person that is our minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

MP Fonseka thinks all those here have passed only Grade Eight. What is wrong with a person with that kind of educational qualification becoming an MP? What about the late Mr. D. S. Senanayake? He was the first prime minister of the country.  He had passed only the fifth standard. We have had leaders who had not studied beyond Grade Eight. Didn’t they govern this country well? On the contrary, where is UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was considered educated and intelligent? What has he done? He is not even in this Parliament today. Was he able to govern this country successfully?”

“We know a lot about him and his ways of conduct. When he was the commander of the Army he sent a helicopter to Colombo to fetch two loaves of bread, while denying so many wounded soldiers the chance to be flown to Colombo. He also brought water from the Iyakkachi well in Vettailaikerni to Colombo because that was his favourite drinking water. We know all this”.

MP Dassanayake said that they had come to Parliament with great trust in it. Yet, he said that there were no thugs in the parliament and no room would be spared to turn the Ninth parliament into the same situation as the Eighth parliament.

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