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Lanka will be compelled to pay US$ 8.3 Mn even without using Chinese Fertilizer – JVP

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Former JVP Kalutara District MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said Sri Lanka will be compelled to pay 8.3 million US Dollars for the ship transporting rejected Chinese Fertilizer.

For months, the Hippo Spirit has been moving around Sri Lankan waters, awaiting instructions to unload Chinese Organic Fertilizer or to return back to China.

Dr. Jayatissa said that even if Sri Lanka accepts the fertilizer ship or not, the country would be compelled to pay 6.75 million US Dollars as well as another 1.6 million US Dollars to the shipping company for delay charges.

“Sri Lanka will be compelled to pay 8.3 million US Dollars without even using Chinese Organic Fertilizer,” he told the media on Thursday (9).

He said the officials who influenced the Letters of Credit to be opened, must be held accountable for this payment.

The Hippo Spirit vessel, which is carrying rejected Chinese Organic Fertilizer is now located some 12.4 nautical miles away from Beruwala, according to marine traffic websites.

The Hippo Spirit is carrying tonnes of rejected Chinese Fertilizer from Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd to Sri Lanka.

Earlier, it is reported that the Hippo Spirit, the ship carrying Chinese Organic Fertilizer, did not return to China after the first samples were rejected by Sri Lanka.

Instead, the Hippo Spirit had sailed to Singapore and altered its course back to Sri Lanka, without returning to China.

On Sept 22, the Hippo Spirit ship carrying 20,000 metric tonnes of organic fertilizer left for Colombo from China’s Qingdao Port.

But the ship was diverted to Singapore after harmful bacteria was detected in the samples of this fertilizer shipment.

The Hippo Spirit ship that didn’t return to China had left Singapore declaring it would be heading to the Colombo Port.

But on Oct 14 the automatic identification system (AIS) used to track the ship had been deactivated at the Malakka Strait.

Vessel trackers showed the last position of the ship as the Malakka Strait before it went out of range.

Data available online showed the Hippo Spirit ship in Hambantota on the Oct 24 under the name Seiyo Explorer.

The Hippo Spirit and the Seiyo Explorer both share the same IMO number, and therefore it can be confirmed the Hippo Spirit is the Seioy Explorer.

The IMO Ship Identification Number is a unique seven-digit number that remains unchanged through a vessel’s lifetime and is linked to its hull, regardless of any changes of names, flags, or owners.

On Sept 17, Agriculture Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage confirmed that a microorganism identified as ‘Erwinia’ was discovered in samples brought down ‘unofficially’ to Sri Lanka and tested.

The supplier was the same, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.

On Sept 29, Agriculture Minister Aluthgamage announced the suspension of organic fertilizer imports from China.

This was after Director-General of Agriculture Dr. Ajantha De Silva on Sept 28 confirmed that Harmful Bacteria was detected in a fresh sample (2nd batch) of Chinese Organic Fertilizer.

The Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited had got a court order to block payment to Qingdao Seawin Biotech over the shipment of organic fertilizer which was contaminated.

The Colombo Commercial High Court had issued the order on Oct 22, against the Qingdao Seawin Biotech, its local agent, and the People’s Bank.

The People’s Bank of Sri Lanka was then blacklisted by the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka for failing to make the payment according to the Letter of Credit and the contracts between the two parties.

However, People’s Bank said that is it bound by an enjoining order issued by the Commercial High Courts of Sri Lanka with regard to the trade transaction in question, which precludes the bank from processing the payment.

People’s Bank also said that the temporary delay in processing the said payment pertaining to the LC is solely due to the bank’s obligation to be bound by the legal directions of the country, as a responsible corporate citizen.

On Nov 7, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., the Chinese Organic Fertilizer Manufacturer sent a Letter of Demand to the National Plant Quarantine Service.

The Letter of Demand notes that Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., has suffered significant loss and damage in a sum of US$ 8 Million and continues to suffer further loss and damage due to loss of reputation and goodwill as well as existing and potential business, due to the negligent conduct of the National Plant Quarantine Service.

The LOD noted that the NPQS make a payment of US$ 8 Million within three days from the date hereof for the loss and damage caused to Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.



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Now, CEB plans to ‘rationalise’ tariff

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By Ifham Nizam

Plans are afoot to ‘rationalise’ the electricity tariff shortly, Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando said, adding that the 52-year-old system should be changed for the betterment of the electricity consumer.

CEB Chief told The Island the CEB tariffs need to be changed to better reflect the use and the income level of the consumer. Ferdinando added that he had already briefed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on it.

Ferdinanado said that right now waste and corruption on CEB’s part had also been added to the consumers’ bill.

He said the CEB had received 1500 MT of fuel yesterday and would receive another shipment soon. However, thort-term power interruptions would continue in several areas until the operations at the Kelanitissa Power Station returns to normal.

“The power interruptions are an annoyance and we are looking for solutions. We too want to provide an uninterrupted power supply to our customers. Our hydro-power generation capacity is low as water levels in reservoirs are receding,” he said.

CEB’s Systems Control Department officials said that power outages might be experienced for one and a half hours due to problems at the Kelanitissa thermal plant complex.

CEB Media Spokesman, Additional General Manager Andrew Navamani said that the national grid had lost 282 MW due to the issues at Kelanitissa thermal plant. He said the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had informed the CEB that necessary stocks of fuel for Kelanitissa power plant would be provided by yesterday night.

However, it would take several hours to start the generators, he said.

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Solving vexed problems: Ranil calls for fresh approach

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‘What we are witnessing is end of politics’

By Saman Indrajith

Traditional politics did not have solutions to the present-day problems, and the MPs should adopt a novel approach to them, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Participating in the adjournment debate on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement, the UNP leader said: “We have come to the end of politics. If we go by the words of Francis Fukuyama, it is a question of the end of politics. But that does not mean the end of Parliament. We in Parliament must think afresh. We must discuss how to bring about long-term policies which would help us find solutions to the problems affecting the public. Thereafter, we can go for elections and ask people to decide who or which party could do better. Japan did so. Great Britain is doing so. India and Canada do the same. Why can’t we do it here? If we can arrive at a consensus, we will be able to usher in a new era.

“The President has commenced this new session while the country is facing the worst economic crisis in 34 years. In his statement, he mentioned only the foreign reserve crisis. The economic crisis we are facing is far worse. We created a middle class with open economic policies. With the collapse of the open economy, the middle class too will collapse. There are a handful of companies and individuals who could earn profits while the economy is shrinking. We must decide whether we’ll perish or unite to work out a plan to ensure our collective survival,” Wickremesinghe said.

“We have come to the end of traditional politics. We may shout at each other and go out to shout slogans. But that will not help us solve problems.”

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Chandrika says Sirisena should be thrown out of SLFP

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SLPP MP and former President Maithripala Sirisena should be thrown out of the SLFP for making the party a junior partner of the SLPP former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said on Wednesday night after appearing before the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCoI) appointed to implement the recommendations of the final report of the PCoI into alleged Political Victimisation.

Both Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had destroyed the SLFP, Kumaratunga alleged.

The former President said that she had urged Sirisena not to join the SLPP as that would be the end of the SLFP.

“I repeatedly told him this and Sirisena removed me from the party’s Central Committee and stripped me of my organiser’s post in retaliation.

“Now, Sirisena is saying the same things I said about the SLPP. Even during the war, I managed to get the economy up and running. Look at it now, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she said.

Kumaratunga was also critical of the SPCoI, stating that she had not been summoned before the PCoI on Political Victimisation for her to respond to any allegations against her.

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