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More than 500 CEB engineers to report sick today over appointment of Acting GM 

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By Ifham Nizam

More than 500 engineers attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) will launch a sick-note campaign today near the CEB headquarters, CEBEU President Saumya Kumarawadu said.

Kumarawadu told journalists yesterday that the union had been compelled to resort to such trade union after 10 years as CEB Chairman M. M. C. Ferdinando had appointed Eng. Dr. M.N. Susantha Perera the General Manager on temporary basis.

However, the engineers rostered for work would function, the CEBEU chief said.

The CEBEU President said that the appointment had been made in violation of Section 5(1) of the CEB Act (the appointment be made with approval from the Power Minister) and Section 5(4) (the GM shall retire from office at the age of 60 years).

Others backing the Chairman’s action said “the Board of CEB had unanimously appointed Dr. Perera as the Acting General Manager of CEB on a temporary basis, pursuant to the order of the Court of Appeal dated January 12, 2022, under the powers vested in the Board in Section 5 (1) of the Ceylon Electricity Board Act, No. 17 of 1969, it has claimed.

“The Court Order states that the Board should make the said appointment on temporary basis under Section 5 (1) of the CEB Act. The Court order does not state that its order should be read in conjunction with any other provisions in the CEB Act.

“Specifically, the Court order does not state that the age of the person selected for appointment as the General Manager on temporary basis should be below 60 years, or the said appointment should be subject to Section 5 (4) of the CEB Act. However, this is a moot point since the retirement age of all CEB employees has been increased to 62.

“The order of the Court of Appeal is an interim order that will remain in force until the final determination of the case.

“The CEBEU claims that the above appointment of Dr. Perera as the General Manager is illegal and violated the order of the Court of Appeal, based on its own interpretation of the said Court Order. The CEBEU has conceded that the suitability of the person appointed as the General Manager shall be determined in terms of Section 5 (1) of the CEB Act.

“Hence, the CEBEU cannot second guess an order issued by the Court of Appeal and take the position that the said order should be read together with Section 5 (4) or any other provision in the CEB Act when the Court has not made any reference to such provisions in its order.

“Section 5 (1) of the CEB Act states that “the Board shall, with the approval of the Minister, appoint a competent and experienced person as the General Manager of the Board.” In communicating the Board’s decision taken on 14 -01-2022, the Chairman of CEB has stated that he obtained the Minister’s concurrence to appoint Dr. Perera as the General Manager based on the Court order.

“The General Manager is a CEB employee and subject to all CEB rules and regulations, including the disciplinary rules applicable to CEB employees. The CEBEU’s argument that the person appointed as the General Manager should not be an outsider, or a

person “not eligible to be appointed as a CEB employee” has no basis since Section 5 (1) or any other clause in the CEB Act contains no such requirement.”



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Canadian declaration of ‘Tamil genocide’ may influence European parliaments, EU – Maj. Gen. (retd.) Gallage

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‘Counter lies, or face consequences’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Retired Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage says controversial Canadian House of Commons declaration that Tamil genocide took place in Sri Lanka may influence many Western parliaments as well as the EU.

The Gajaba Regiment war veteran said that the recognition of 18th May, the day Sri Lanka defeated terrorism as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day was an affront to Sri Lanka.

The ex-combat officer said that the government owed an explanation without delay. Perhaps, Sri Lanka parliament should remind Canada of deaths of hundreds of native residential school students, who had been literally snatched from their families, the retired officer said, adding that it would be interesting to see whether any political parties, civil society groups or those who issue statements against Sri Lanka at the drop of a hat would question the Canada’s gruesome past. So far unmarked graves of more than 1000 native children have been found on the grounds of such schools run till the mid-1990s, the retired Major General said.

Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree, son of veteran Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader V. Anandasangaree presented the motion on Wednesday (18). “Canada becomes the first national parliament in the world to recognize May 18th of each year as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day,” tweeted, Anandasangree, the MP for Scarborough-Rouge Park.

The motion states that “this House acknowledges the Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and recognizes May 18th of each year as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day”.

The House of Commons unanimously accepted the motion.

Gallage alleged that Sri Lanka lacked political will to counter the campaign against the country. Acknowledging the current political-fiscal -social crisis caused by decades of economic mismanagement, he warned that the Canadian declaration would have disastrous consequences. Would the government care to examine how interested parties could exploit the Canadian condemnation of Sri Lanka? Gallage asked.

Sri Lanka brought the war to a successful conclusion in the third week of May 2009.

Gallage questioned the responsibility on the part of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministries for Sri Lanka’s failure to meet the challenge.

Anandasangaree brought forward the motion on the 13th anniversary of the annihilation of the LTTE fighting cadre at Mullivaikkal.

Retired Maj. Gen. said that those who had failed to throw a lifeline to the LTTE as the military brought the war to a rapid conclusion worked overtime for the realization of the Canadian project.

Responding to another query, Gallage said that declaration of May 18 as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day should be examined against the backdrop of Sri Lanka co-sponsoring an accountability resolution against itself at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in early Oct. 2015 under the yahapalana regime.

Gallage recalled how Australia denied him a visa during yahapalana administration though there hadn’t been specific war crimes allegations against him. Australia also found fault with Gallage for being in command of the 59 Division from May 7, 2009 to July 20, 2009.

Established in Jan, 2008, the 59 Division, deployed on the eastern flank aka the Weli Oya front, fought under the then Brig. Nandana Udawatte’s command for one year to cross the Anandakulam and Nagacholai forest reserves, which served as natural defences for the LTTE Mullaitivu stronghold.

Maj. Gen. Gallage said that the Parliament should respond to the Canadian House of Commons declaration on Tamil genocide. The former senior officer who was always in the thick of combat reiterated that unless tangible action was taken immediately the Canadian motion would cause irreparable damage. The Tamil Diaspora would exploit their success with Canadian political parties to pressure other countries, Gallage said, the coming Geneva sessions would be quite a challenge.

He urged the current military top brass to make representations to the government as regards the damning unfair Canadian indictment of Sri Lanka. “We should ask Canada to share with us information on the basis its Parliament reached conclusion that genocide took place here. The very basis of their declaration is questionable,” Gallage said, adding that Sri Lanka should officially inform Canada of the Indian intervention that led to the deaths of thousands, both before and after the deployment of the Indian Army (1987-1990), killing of one-time Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE female suicide cadre and the sea borne attempt to assassinate the Maldivian President in 1989. “We should set the record straight. We should use wartime British High Commission cables now in the public domain to counter lies,” the Gajaba Regiment veteran said.

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Some MPs seek hotel accommodation to attend parliament

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament yesterday that a group of MPs had requested that they be provided hotel accommodations for them to attend Parliament sittings.

Speaker Abeywardena said that the request had been made due to the prevailing fuel crisis.

The Speaker said that some MPs who travelled from outstations were unable to return home due to the fuel shortage.

“Therefore, they have requested me to book a hotel for them to stay in Colombo to attend Parliament proceedings,” he said.

The Speaker’s clarification came as reports of MPs being provided fuel at a subsidised rate were raised in Parliament yesterday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that fuel had not been given at subsidised rates to any MP.

Many government MPs also lost life possessions as their houses were looted and torched by marauding mobs early last week.

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Elder brother says MR should have known when to quit politics

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SLPP MP and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that his younger brother former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa should have retired from politics after concluding his second term as President.

“Nearly 50 years of his outstanding political achievements and journey have been lost at present,” he said.

“If we become greedy for power and positions then we face such consequences as we see today,” he said.

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