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Opposition MPs want Treasury Secretary summoned before Privileges Committee

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Dayasiri

By Saman Indrajith

The Opposition MPs in Parliament yesterday demanded that Finance Ministry Secretary K. M. Mahinda Siriwardana be summoned before the Parliamentary Privilege Committee for allegedly conniving with the government MPs to deprive their Opposition counterparts of budgetary allocations.

At the commencement of businesses of the day, SLPP dissident MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe had allocated, from Budget 2024, Rs 11,250 million to 225 MPs for rural development activities.

“The President pledged to resume the decentralised budget programme and Rs 11,250 million was set aside. However, the MPs who voted against the government have not been given this,” he said.

Jayasekera said that the Finance Ministry usually sent letters to all MPs specifying how to spend the allocation. However, Opposition MPs had not received that letter. Instead, all District Secretaries and Provincial Governors had received a letter from Finance Ministry Secretary K. M. Mahinda Siriwardana on how to utilise the funds, he said.

Finance State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said the Finance Ministry Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana had not breached privileges of any MP. He asked whether the Opposition MPs who had voted against Budget 2024 had any moral right to ask for funds allocated from it.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said the Opposition MPs were not allowed to submit their proposals to the District Coordinating Committees for the development activities in their electorates. “I asked the District Coordinating Committee whether I can submit proposals, but I was told that we cannot,” Kiriella said.

MP Jayasekera said that it was stupid for Minister Semasinghe to state MPs who had voted against the Budget 2024 had no moral right to ask for the allocations because those allocations are meant for people and rural development.

The Speaker asked the MPs to meet the relevant Minister and have the matter sorted out.



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10,000 children at 336 Child Development Centers nationwide to receive gift parcels from President today (13)

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Through an initiative taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, over 10,000 children under the care of 336 child development centers throughout the country, will receive gift parcels today (13).

The distribution sponsored by Ceylon Biscuits Limited is coordinated by the office of the President with support from the office of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Sri Lanka Army.

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Navy intercept multi-day fishing trawler carrying 200kg of narcotics

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It has been reported that the Sri Lanka Navy has intercepted a multi-day fishing trawler carrying around 200kg of narcotics suspected to be heroin and crystal methamphetamine (‘Ice’) off the southern coast of the island.

The boat and crew  were to be brought to the Galle Harbour,

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Advisory for Severe Lightning issued to Western, Southern, Sabaragamuwa, Northern and North-western provinces and in Monaragala district today (12)

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Advisory for Severe Lightning issued by the natural hazards early warning center at 01.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. on 12 April 2024

Thundershowers accompanied by severe lightning are likely to occur at several places in Western, Southern, Sabaragamuwa, Northern and North-western provinces and in Monaragala district.

There may be temporary localized strong winds during thundershowers.

General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by lightning activity.

ACTION REQUIRED:

The Department of Meteorology advises that people should:
• Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.

• Avoid open areas such as paddy fields, tea plantations and open water bodies during thunderstorms.

• Avoid using wired telephones and connected electric appliances during thunderstorms.

• Avoid using open vehicles, such as bicycles, tractors and boats etc.

• Beware of fallen trees and power lines.

• For emergency assistance contact the local disaster management authorities.
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