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Sajith accuses govt. of arbitrarily ending services of employees recruited by previous dispensation

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by Saman Indrajith

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa on Friday alleged that the government had arbitrarily ended the services of employees recruited by the previous government to the state sector and those recruited for full time training.

Making a special statement in Parliament, Premadasa said that the President had presented the government’s policy statement on August 20th under the theme ‘One country – One law’, but accused the government of committing serious injustice.

“Around 6800 project assistant officers were recruited by the previous government as per a Cabinet decision on a full time training basis and they had reported for duty at the respective District Secretariats prior to the Presidential elections. However, based on a directive issued by the Election Commission, their appointments were temporarily suspended until the presidential election concluded”, he said

However, now it’s been nine months since the presidential election concluded, but these recruits have yet not been called for service, Premadasa added.

He said that based on a decision taken at the Cabinet meeting held on September 17, 2019, those recruited under temporary, Casual, Substitute, Contract or relief basis to the Public Service, Provincial Public Service, Public Corporations and Statutory Boards by Public Administration Circular No. 29/2019 issued in accordance with the Cabinet Meeting recommended to confirm the Management Assistants and Primary Grade Officers who were recruited on the basis of having completed more than 180 consecutive days of satisfactory service as at 01st September, 2019, this process was temporarily suspended based on the Election Commission directive.

“As a former Housing Minister, it has been brought to my notice that many employees of the Housing Development Authority are unfairly treated”, he said.

The Opposition Leader said that employees recruited to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, National Housing Development Authority, school health assistants recruited through the Ministry of Education, archeological workers, field mosquito control assistants recruited to the Ministry of Health, Samurdhi Bank and computer assistants and electrical maintenance assistants recruited to the Wildlife Department had been arbitrarily terminated as of now.

“Specifically, the termination of appointments after the government has issued an appointment letter and called for service is a grave injustice. Many of those who have been appointed have left their jobs in the private sector in anticipation of receiving government jobs, but now have to face the cancellation of their government appointments leaving them in a dire predicament, he further said.

It is normal for political parties elected to government to change periodically, but the cancellation of government appointments given by the previous government after elections is also a very wrong precedent. I look forward to the Government’s response and explanation to the following questions regarding this gross injustice,” Premadasa noted.

He asked the government “if it admits that a grave injustice has been committed towards these appointees due to the government arbitrarily terminating their appointments, if the government intends to rectify this issue or if not why?”



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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