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‘PUCSL will not be dissolved, but will get new Board soon’



By Ifham Nizam

Utilities regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) would not be dissolved but the government would appoint a new board of directors as its incumbent directorate had resigned, a senior power sector official said.

When contacted, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman, Eng. Vijitha Herath told The Island that the PUCSL new board would be appointed shortly.

Power and Energy Ministry strongly says the role of the PUCSL is of paramount importance as almost all CEB engineers have stressed the importance of its functions.

“It cannot be dissolved without parliamentary approval,” another official said.

Last week, Secretary to the President, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera instructed Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle to take steps to close down the PUCSL, absorb the technical staff into the National Planning Department and the Power Ministry.

Dr. Jayasundera in his letter stated that the PUCSL Act would be replaced in due course, and that certain relevant provisions in the Act could be incorporated into the Consumer Affairs Authority Act and the Ceylon Electricity Board Act.

Industry experts and Opposition parliamentarians criticised the move to scrap the PUCSL, stressing it would have a deleterious impact on the country’s power sector and open the door to corruption, reduce oversight of the CEB, curtail investment from multilateral lenders such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and undermine public interest.

The PUCSL is the economic, technical and safety regulator of the electricity industry in Sri Lanka and the designated regulator for petroleum and water services industries.

The PUCSL has also been assigned as the shadow regulator for the lubricant market in Sri Lanka. It was established by The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Act No. 35 of 2002.

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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?



… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.



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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others



The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.



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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area



Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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