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‘Out of over 10,000 discarded govt vehicles, 4,116 can be used’

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Colossal waste due to poor maintenance

By Shamindra Ferdinando

A recent survey has revealed that 4,116 usable vehicles had been discarded by government institutions.

According to a proposal made by Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sept 2 to the Cabinet of ministers these vehicles could be used following repairs whereas 5,588 were in a depleted state due to the failure on the part of respective institutions to properly maintain them.

The revelation was made at yesterday’s post-cabinet media briefing at the Government Information Department where Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Plantations Dr. Ramesh Pathirana explained the circumstances leading to the government exploring ways and means of using abandoned vehicles against the backdrop of severe shortage of foreign exchange.

In addition to Dr. Pathirana, cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella, who holds the Mass Media portfolio and co-cabinet spokesman addressed the media on a number of issues. Referring to instructions received from Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the President Dr. Pathirana said that there was an excess of vehicles in the local market. Both Dr. Pathirana and Rambukwella emphasized that vehicle imports could be stopped for about a year.

Reference was made to the continuing balance of payments crisis and what they called serious issue of shortfall in foreign exchange against the backdrop of covid-19 pandemic paralysing economies everywhere.

The government intends to hand over repaired vehicles to those institutions that needed them through Comptroller General’s Office at the Finance Ministry.

Those who had duty free permits could use them to buy vehicle locally, the media was also told.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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