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Sajith cries foul over allocation of stalls at new Manning Market

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By Saman Indrajith

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday told parliament that there were serious issues pertaining to the allocation of stalls in the new Manning Market at Peliyagoda. There had been instances of a single shop being given to two traders.

Taking special permission from the Chair, the Opposition Leader said: “When it was planned to construct the new Manning Market at a cost of Rs 6.9 billion we provided a list of all the rightful owners of the old Manning Market. There were 1,192 of them. We promised to lease the shops at the market for a monthly rental of Rs 2,000-3,000 and did not intend to ask the shop owners to place any deposit. The new government completed the construction work and we are told that the traders have been asked to deposit Rs 200,000 to 500,000 per stall. In addition they have been informed that they would be required to pay a monthly rental of Rs 15,000. This is unfair.”

Premadasa said that those traders had found that the same space had been allocated to two people in some cases. “How are you going to lease the same space to two persons simultaneously? The original list of 1,192 traders registered in 2017 had the names of those who had stalls at the old Manning Market. We included the names of all traders who had been there. So, the new list must be having the names of some outsiders.”

He requested the government to stick to the original list of names and to lease a stall at a monthly rental of Rs. 3,000.



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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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