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Sarath asks PM not to mix up priorities

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‘Privatisation of state lands poses serious threat’

by Shamindra Ferdinando

SLPP lawmaker Rear Admiral (ret.) Sarath Weerasekera yesterday (06) said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should concentrate on economic recovery instead of constitutional and electoral reforms.

The former Public Security Minister also questioned the undue haste in bringing in 22 Amendment at a time the economy was on the verge of collapse.

The Colombo District MP said so in the wake of Premier Wickremesinghe’s admission in Parliament on Tuesday (05) that Sri Lanka was negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a bankrupt country.

The UNP leader, in his capacity as the Premier and the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies seemed to be taking advantage of the current crisis to advance his political agenda Weerasekera said.

Weerasekera, who first entered Parliament from Digamadulla electoral District at the 2010 general election said that Premier Wickremesinghe shouldn’t mix up his priorities with that of the country.

Wickremesinghe received appointment as Premier on 12 May. The UNP leader was sworn in as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies on 25 May after desperate attempts to convince Dr. Harsha de Silva to take the daunting challenge failed, the lawmaker said.

President Rajapaksa invited Wickremesinghe after Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa set several prerequisites for him to accept the premiership.

The former Navy Chief of Staff alleged that a sinister attempt was being made to privatise state land on the pretext of issuing title deeds to framers et al. MP Weerasekera said that the move on state land should be examined against the backdrop of the previous yahapalana attempt to join MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation) Compact with the US.

Asked whether he had raised these issues with the top SLPP leadership, lawmaker Weerasekera emphasised that he wouldn’t remain silent whatever the consequences. MP Weerasekera revealed that he took up the folly of pursuing constitutional and electoral reforms and proposed privatisation of state land at the expense of economic recovery at the government group meeting on Monday (04) chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Premier Wickremesinghe. The group met at the President’s House as the Presidential Secretariat at Galle Face remained blocked by ‘Gotagogama’ protesters.

Lawmaker Weerasekera has told the group meeting in spite of his opposition to the inclusion of Wickremesinghe as the Premier, he accepted the appointment once it was made. Declaring he went to the extent of urging President Gotabaya Rajapaksa not to take Wickremesinghe into the fold, MP Weerasekera said that he, however, wanted to back the UNP leader’s efforts to revive the economy. But, the issue at hand was Wickremesinghe was pursuing a political agenda inimical to national interests.

MP Weerasekera said that he exchanged words with Wickremesinghe over the latter’s presentation that dealt with the debilitated national economy. The Premier talked about the economy in the years to come while the hapless public wanted the government to take tangible measures to address the issues at hand.

Lawmaker Weerasekera alleged that those pushing for 22 Amendment had conveniently ignored the Supreme Court ruling in respect of the 21 Amendment. The SC ruled that the powers exercised by the President couldn’t be given to the Prime Minister without having a referendum, MP Weerasekera said, questioning whether the actions of those responsible for 22 Amendment amounted to contempt of court.

Responding to another query, MP Weerasekera emphasized Sinnakkara deeds couldn’t be given under any circumstances as the government was only the custodian but not the owner.

During the discussion, MP Weerasekera also pointed out that Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, during yahapalana administration had been successful in thwarting the move to issue title deeds. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, who now holds the justice portfolio, had been present at the President’s House meeting and explained the circumstances in which he moved court against the relevant Bill at that time.

Lawmaker Weerasekera has told President Gotabaya Rajapaksa how in spite of him having an impeccable career in the wartime Navy, he was subjected to public humiliation for no fault of his due to the disruption of fuel and gas supplies. “I have risked my life for the country and now had to suffer as a result of the failure of those responsible for the economy. This is nothing but a disgrace,” MP Weerasekera told The Island.

MP Weerasekera said that political parties represented in Parliament shouldn’t be blind to ground realities. Therefore, they should know how current economic-political-social crisis threatened Sri Lanka’s unitary status protected at a tremendous cost to the armed forces, the MP said, urging the powers that be to give priority to economic issues or face the consequences.



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Sinhala and Tamil New Year auspicious times

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The Auspicious times for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year 2024 are as follows

13th April
02:41pm –  Punya Kalaya
09:05pm  – Dawn of the New Year
11:06pm –  Lighting of the Hearth

14th April 
00:06am – Starting work, Partaking of meals and transactions

15th April
10:17am – Anointing

17th April
06:52am – Leaving for work

18th April 
10:16am – Planting trees

 

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Heat Index at ‘Caution’ level in Northern and North-Western provinces and Anuradhapura district

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Heat Index advisory issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre At 4.00 p.m. 12 April 2024, valid for 13 April  2024

The Natural hazards Early Warning Centre says that the Heat Index, the temperature felt on the human body is expected to increase up to ‘Caution level’ at some places in Northern and North-Western provinces and Anuradhapura district.

The Heat Index Forecast is calculated by using relative humidity and maximum temperature and this is the condition that is felt on your body. This is not the forecast of maximum temperature. It is generated by the Department of Meteorology for the next day period and prepared by using global numerical weather prediction model data.

Effect of the heat index on human body is mentioned in the above table and it is prepared on the advice of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services.

ACTION REQUIRED

Job sites: Stay hydrated and takes breaks in the shade as often as possible.
Indoors: Check up on the elderly and the sick.
Vehicles: Never leave children unattended.
Outdoors: Limit strenuous outdoor activities, find shade and stay hydrated.
Dress: Wear lightweight and white or light-colored clothing.

Note:
In addition, please refer to advisories issued by the Disaster Preparedness & Response Division, Ministry of Health in this regard as well. For further clarifications please contact 011-7446491

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Sun directly overhead Kumulamunai, Murikandi, Keridamadu and Tanniyatttu at about 12:10 noon today (13)

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On the apparent northward relative motion of the sun, it is going to be directly over the latitudes of Sri Lanka during 05th to 15th of April in this year.

The nearest areas of Sri Lanka over which the sun is overhead today (13th) are Kumulamunai, Murikandi, Keridamadu and Tanniyatttu at about 12:10 noon.

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