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Police happy with new traffic lane rules: Congestion eased to a great extent




The mandatory traffic lane rules now being enforced on four key routes in Colombo and its suburbs have helped to ease road congestion to a considerable degree, a senior police official asserted, amidst the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AA) adopting a “let’s wait and see” stand on the issue.

“We are happy with the outcome”, says SSP Indika Hapugoda, Director, Traffic Administration and Road Safety.

There were teething problems at the initial stage, but as the days progressed, the outcome was fruitful, he said. “There was a marked improvement with every passing day and by Friday, there was relative free flow of traffic on the designated routes”.

Asked about concerns raised by private bus operators over three-wheelers and motor cycles being directed to use the specially demarcated ‘bus lane’, SSP Hapugoda replied, “that’s not an issue. There are four private bus associations in the country and only one has complained. The others are happy with the arrangement”.

“There are complaints about traffic congestion aggravating in some areas after the new rules were implemented”, said Devapriya Hettiarachchi, Secretary, Automobile Association of Ceylon.

Many staff members were late by about half an hour after the traffic police began implementing the new road rules, he noted, and added that according to complaints, the bottlenecks were largely at Nugegoda and Kadawatha.

“Anyway, let’s wait and see how the new traffic scheme plays out”, he continued.

The traffic police will continue to strictly enforce the road rules, SSP Hapugoda stressed. “We expect better results on Monday”.

Violators will be fined Rs. 2,000, the director warned.

Divided into four zones, the traffic lane rules are being implemented from the new Kelani Bridge on the Baseline Road to the High Level junction via Orugodawatta, Dematagoda, Borella and Narahenpita.

From Polduwa Junction on Sri Jayewardenepura Mawatha to Rajagiriya Flyover, Ayurveda junction, D. S. Senanayake Junction, Horton roundabout, Library Junction and Liberty roundabout.

From William junction on Galle Road to Dickman’s Road Junction via Bambalapitiya, Kollupitiya, Galle Face Roundabout and the NSA roundabout junction.

From near Anula College, Nugegoda on High Level Road to High Level Baseline junction, Park Road junction, Thimbirigasyaya junction, Thummulla roundabout, Glasshouse junction, Library junction and Pittala handiya (junction).

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves



By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents



Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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