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Mahindra & Mahindra launches Lanka’s first ever locally assembled single cab – New Bolero City Pik-Up 

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Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. of India and Ideal Motors in Sri Lanka hand over the first new Bolero City Pik-Up, the first single cab pick-up to be assembled in Sri Lanka, to Suren Cooke – Director, Suren Cooke Agencies, at the Waters Edge Battaramulla on Thursday. From left:  Sachin Arolkar, Head of International Operations, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, Suren Cooke- Director, Suren Cooke Agencies, Veejay Nakra, CEO, Automotive Division, M&M Ltd,  Nalin Welgama, Founder & Chairman, Ideal Motors and Aravinda de Silva, Deputy Chairman of the Ideal Group.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M Ltd.) and Ideal Motors, a fully owned subsidiary of the Ideal Group, today announced the start of deliveries of the new Bolero City Pik-Up in Sri Lanka. With this, Bolero City Pik-Up becomes Mahindras first single cab pick up to be assembled in the country. The vehicle has been in production at Mahindra Ideal Lankas Automotive assembly plant at Welipenna. The first batch of vehicles were delivered to the customers at an event held in Colombo on Thursday.

Sri Lanka is one of M&Ms most important overseas markets. M&M has been present in the country for more than 25 years with a robust automotive & farm portfolio. The brand has been holding a leadership position for over 10 years in the pick-up category.

The addition of Bolero City Pik-Up will further strengthen its position in the category. With the gradual opening of the market amidst the pandemic, the commercial vehicle category is witnessing an increase in demand. Mahindra is boosting its production capacity at the Sri Lankan plant to meet the market demand for single cab pickups

Veejay Nakra, CEO, Automotive Division, M&M Ltd. said, “Sri Lanka has been a strategic market for Mahindra. We have been scaling up our local presence by expanding the product range through the Make in Sri Lanka initiative. With the addition of the Bolero City Pik-Up to our portfolio, we will further reinforce our leadership in this category. I am delighted to announce the introduction of the first locally assembled pick up in Sri Lanka.

Addressing the gathering, Nalin Welgama, Founder & Chairman, Ideal Motors said, Ideal Motors and Mahindra have been working together for a decade to deliver value to our customers. Our small commercial vehicle range has played a pivotal role in the economic development of the country over the last many years. This new Bolero City Pik-up will open many opportunities for small and medium entrepreneurs in the country. We believe in giving the best customer experience through our island wide network.”

With easy maneuverability, big cargo box and reliable high-power engine, the new Bolero City Pik-Up has been designed for urban and rural applications. This pick-up will offer class leading cargo capacity and payload in the category, thus enhancing the earning potential for its owners. This will be supported by a class-leading extended warranty of 36 months/ 100,000 km. Customers are assured to earn more profit and have complete peace of mind.

The New Bolero City Pik-Up is powered by Mahindras proven 2,523cm3, m2Di, four-cylinder, diesel engine providing power of 46.3 kW (63 HP) & torque of 195 Nm for better performance. The Bolero City Pik-Up has a payload capacity of 1400 kg and 2640 cm x 1700 cm (8.7 ft x 5.6 ft) cargo box to carry heavy loads effortlessly. Its sporty eye-catching wrap around headlamps, a stylized front chrome grille, a trendy dual tone instrument panel and comfortable fabric seats with matching door trims, gives it a more stylish and elegant look.



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Weerawansa’s wife sentenced to RI

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Lawyers appearing for Shashi Weerawansa, MP Wimal Weerawansa’s wife, yesterday (27) appealed against a Colombo Magistrate’s Court decision to sentence their client to two years rigorous imprisonment.Colombo Chief Magistrate, Buddhika Sri Ragala found her guilty of submitting forged documents to obtain a diplomatic passport circa 2010. The Colombo Magistrate’s Court also imposed a fine of Rs. 100,000 on Mrs. Weerawansa. If the fine is not paid she will have to serve an extra six months.

Additional Magistrate Harshana Kekunawala announced that the appeal would be called for consideration on 30 May.The case against Mrs. Weerawansa was filed by the CID after a complaint was lodged on 23 January 2015 by Chaminda Perera, a resident of Battaramulla.

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Unions predict end of energy sovereignty

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A government decision to allow all privately-owned bunker fuel operators to import and distribute diesel and fuel oil to various industries was a rollback of the nationalisation of the country’s petroleum industry and another severe blow to energy sovereignty of the country, trade union activist of the SJB Ananda Palitha said yesterday.Earlier, Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera Tweeted that ‘approval was given to all the Private Bunker Fuel Operators to Import and provide Diesel and Fuel Oil requirements of Industries to function their Generators and Machinery. This will ease the burden on CPC and Fuel Stations provided in bulk’.Commenting on the decision, Palitha said that according to the existing law those companies only had the power to import, store and distribute fuel for ships. Those companies did not have the authority to distribute fuel inside the country, Palitha said.

“Only the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) can distribute fuel inside the country. There is a controversy about the licence given to the LIOC as well. If the government wants other companies to import fuel, it needs to change the laws. The Minister does not have the power to make these decisions. A few months ago the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration used to rush Bills that adversely affected the country through Parliament. Now, since they don’t have a majority in parliament, they are using the Cabinet to make decisions that are detrimental to the country’s interests.”

Palitha said that the controversial government move would further weaken the CPC, and that the ultimate aim of the Rajapaksa-Wickremesinghe government was to make the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) purchase fuel from private distributors. With a weakened CPC and a CEB under the mercy of private companies, the Sri Lankan state would have little control over the country’s energy sector, he warned.

“The CEB already can’t pay the CPC, and therefore how can it pay private companies? It will have to sell its assets. This is another step in the road to fully privatise the energy sector. When this happens no government will be able to control inflation or strategically drive production through fuel and energy tariffs. The people will be at the mercy of businessmen and the government will only be a bystander,” he said.

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Modi government moves to ‘solve’ Katchatheevu issue

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The Narendra Modi government is mulling restoring the traditional rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Katchatheevu, an uninhabited island of 285 acres, sandwiched between India and Sri Lanka in the Palk Bay, with the BJP hoping the move could lift its political fortunes in the southern state.The government will push Sri Lanka to implement “in letter and spirit” the 1974 agreement reached between Indira Gandhi and Sirimavo Bandaranaike, then prime ministers of India and Sri Lanka, on the island.This will have to be done by withdrawing the “Executive Instructions” issued in 1976 without questioning Sri Lanka’s “sovereignty” over Katchatheevu, sources aware of the internal discussions in the BJP told the Indian newspaper, Deccan Herald.

Sources added that the discussions were “ongoing” at “various levels” including reaching out to Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka. The recent visit of TN BJP chief K Annamalai to Sri Lanka is also part of the outreach. Many feel the instructions issued in 1976 “superseded the provisions of the legally valid” pact between India and Sri Lanka, thus making Katchatheevu a subject of dispute in the Palk Bay.While the 1974 agreement gave away Katchatheevu, which was part of the territory ruled by the Rajah of Ramanathapuram, to Sri Lanka, the 1976 pact drew the maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka in the Gulf of Mannar and Bay of Bengal.

“We cannot disturb the agreement signed in 1974. We are now finding ways and means to implement the agreement in letter and spirit. All we plan is to ask Sri Lanka to invoke Article 6 of the Katchatheevu pact. If Sri Lanka agrees, the issue can be sorted through Exchange of Letters between foreign secretaries of both countries,” a source in the know said.Another source said the time is “ripe” to push forward on the issue. “With fast-changing geopolitical situation in the region, we believe Sri Lanka will slowly come around and accept the rights of our fishermen,” the source said.

“The opinion within the party is that time is ripe to push this cause, with Sri Lanka beginning to realise that India can always be relied upon, given PM Ranil (Wickremesinghe) is pro-India.”

Articles 5 and 6 of the 1974 agreement categorically assert the right to access of the Indian fishermen and pilgrims to Katchatheevu and state that the “vessels of Sri Lanka and India will enjoy in each other’s waters such rights as they have traditionally enjoyed therein”.

However, fishermen from India were prohibited from fishing in the Sri Lankan territorial waters around Katchatheevu in 1976 following the signing of an agreement on the maritime boundary. The battle for fish in the Palk Bay has often ended in Indian fishermen being attacked by Sri Lankan Navy for “transgressing” into their waters.The BJP, which is yet to make major inroads in Tamil Nadu, feels a “solution” to the long-standing issue will give the party the much-needed momentum ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and provide a chance to get into the Tamil psyche. Political analysts feel that it might also allow the BJP to needle the DMK and the Congress by pointing out that it has restored the rights “surrendered by them,” to Tamil fishermen

Senior journalist and Lanka expert R Bhagwan Singh said: “If BJP succeeds in its efforts, it will certainly help the saffron party in the coming elections.”

But a source said the move will “take time”. “We don’t want to rush and create an impression we are forcing Sri Lanka. We will take it slow. We will take every stakeholder into confidence and reach an amicable settlement with Sri Lanka. All we want to do is restore traditional rights of our fishermen,” the source said.CM Stalin also raised the issue at an event on Thursday, telling Modi that this is the “right time” to retrieve Katchatheevu.

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