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Pay hike to CEB employees: Govt. to foot an additional Rs. 9bn salary bill



By Ifham Nizam

The 25% hike salary increase granted to 28,000 Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) employees will cost the government an additional nine billion rupees annually, officials said.

The CEB’s senior management defended the move, which came at a time the government is facing a financial crisis, saying the employees were entitled to a salary revision once in three years in terms of the collective agreement.

“It was something due to them in January this year”, a senior engineer commented, adding that Water Board employees received a bigger pay hike.

CEB trade unions originally demanded demanded a 36% pay rise, which would have worked out to an additional annual financial commitment of more than Rs. 12 billion for the government, a senior official said.

The salary increase was given in the backdrop of a protest campaign launched by CEB trade unions. Since January this year, 90% of the employees agitated for their due salary revision with a ‘sick note’ campaign also launched to support their demand.

Energy Minister of Power, Dullas Alahapperuma submitted a cabinet paper in April to secure the additional financial commitment to meet the enhanced salary bill of CEB employees.

The last increment was granted in 2018, a trade unionist said. “What was due in January 2021 didn’t materialize”.

“We submitted our proposals before the due date, there was no response, but we were patient because of the Covid-19 situation. There are no politics involved. We protested against the delay in what was due to us”, he noted.

CEB Chairman Eng. Vijitha Herath said that in terms of a Collective Agreement signed, the salaries of employees are revised by 25% every three years.


Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused



By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?



By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.



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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas



By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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