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The Office Complex of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya Sangha Sabha soon to be named the ‘Headquarters of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya’ located at No.70, Galle Road, Wellawatta, is scheduled to be declared open on the 15th August 2020. This building is by way of the fulfillment of a prime need experienced by this Sangha Sabha from its very inception in Sri Lanka in the year 1803.

The Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya which consists of 22 Chapters, made temporary headquarters out of each particular Vihara or the dwellings of the monk who for the time being held the position of the Supreme Chief or Maha Nayaka and used such Vihara on a temporary basis as the office as well. But henceforth, the Amarapura Maha Nikaya will be able to serve independent of such subsidiary sects and have here in this complex its permanent centre, where both the lay and the ordained – the monks as well as the lay members or the sustainer staff, viz. the Nikayabhivurdhi Sabha – will be able to utilize this building from where they would be able to discharge the administrative duties of the Nikaya.

At the time His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa was the incumbent Executive President of Sri Lanka, a request for the donation of this land located in Wellawatta, was made to him by the Venerable Agga Maha Panditha Mahopadyaya Kotugoda Dhammavasa Mahimi, Supreme Maha Nayaka of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya. In response, His Excellency donated this as a sacred offering to be used for the purposes set out here. This administrative building will be declared open by Hon.Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chief Guest.

The Maha Nayakas of the 22 Chapters of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya, the Chief Lekhakadhikaris of these Chapters, Secretary, Ministry of Buddha Sasana and the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs are all due to attend this Opening Ceremony.Former Head as well as the incumbent Head of the Navy are scheduled to participate in this event, to represent the Navy personnel who provided the services of the construction of the building and timely completion of the work. 95% of the construction cost of Rs.60Mn was met by Mr.Ajita de Zoysa, Vice President of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Nikyabhivurdhi Dayaka Sabha.

It is on a proposal made by the Supreme Maha Nayaka of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Nikaya, the Venerable Agga Maha Panditha Mahopadyaya Kotugoda Dhammavasa Mahimi, that this building was named the ‘Sir Cyril de Zoysa Commemoration Building’.

We wish to place on record that it is on a decision made by a team of Bhikkus of the Amarapura Nikaya together with the Nikayabhivurdhi Dayaka Sabha that this opening ceremony is kept as simple as possible; the reason being the threat of the corona epidemic which is not merely a local but a global pandemic.

Further, in view of the significance of this event an all-night Pirith will be held in the night of Sunday the 16th followed by a morning daana at 6.45 a.m. on Monday the 17th.



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PMB declines to release Rs 1.2 bn FD for paddy purchasing



Treasury forced to bear responsibility for Rs 2 bn in loans

By Shamindra Ferdinando

State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has said that the State Banks weren’t in a position to release funds to the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) as the enterprise owed them a staggering sum, running to over Rs 20 bn.

Due to the failure on the part of the state enterprise to settle previous loans, the Treasury has been compelled to accept the responsibility for repaying them, the State Minister said.

The Kegalle District lawmaker said so on the live political programme, Salakuna, telecast on Hiru on Monday night. The State Minister was responding to interviewer Chamuditha Samarawickrema’s query regarding the inordinate delay on the part of the government to implement the paddy purchasing scheme.

Referring to Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera’s abortive efforts to obtain the required funding, lawmaker Siyambalapitiya said that the Treasury was helpless.

State Minister Siyambalapitiya said the PMB couldn’t be faulted for the crisis as successive governments had directed the state enterprise to purchase paddy at a higher price, then ordered it to sell at a much lower price, thereby causing staggering losses.

The State Minister also acknowledged management level shortcomings and political interventions caused the ruination of the PMB.

The PMB owed the Bank of Ceylon and the People’s Bank Rs 1,600 mn and Rs 690 mn, respectively.

The State Minister acknowledged that the issue couldn’t be resolved in spite of interventions made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Premier Dinesh Gunawardena. Referring to a subsequent discussion he had with the Secretary to the Treasury Mahinda Siriwardana, lawmaker Siyambalapitiya said that the BOC has asked for Rs 1.2 bn fixed deposit as security though the PMB declined to do so. According to the State Minister the PMB asserted that it couldn’t forgo the fixed deposit as the

interest received was utilized for day to day running of its operations.

The State Minister said that the banks could release the required funding on the basis of a guarantee given by the Treasury. The lawmaker explained the inability on the part of the Treasury to give such a guarantee as further deterioration of public finance could have a devastating impact on the banking sector. Such an eventuality couldn’t be allowed, the SLFPer said.

The Minister acknowledged that the failure on the part of the government to launch a paddy purchasing scheme would dishearten the farmer community.

Chamuditha Samarawickrema pointed out that the private sector had managed their ‘operations’ in a much better way.

The State Minister said that the situation was so bad that of the recent Rs 93 mn public sector salary bill, the government could meet Rs 82 mn. The government had no option but to ask those state enterprises to pay salaries from their funds, pending repayment, the MP said, reiterating the Treasury couldn’t help the PMD at the moment.

Responding to further questions, the State Minister said that the government would definitely give priority to the PMD issue once they finalized public sector salary payments. The Minister urged the media not to pursue an agenda detrimental to the government’s recovery efforts. Asked to explain, the State Minister said that there had been accusations the government didn’t purchase paddy to clear the field for the private sector. The Hiru team pointed out that the banks had released substantial amounts to the private sector to purchase paddy. The Minister explained the banks tried their best to help but circumstances were such the government couldn’t help at the moment.

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PSC proposes amendment to Children and Young Persons Ordinance



A meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee to ensure gender equality in progress. Among those present were lawmakers Rohini Kaviratne, Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Dr. Seetha Arambepola and Deputy Secretary General of Parliament Kushani Rohanadeera (pic courtesy Parliament)

The Parliamentary Select Committee to ensure gender equality has decided to propose amendments to the Children and Young Persons Ordinance to consider all those below 18 years as children.

The PSC presided by its Chairperson Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle that met in the Parliamentary Complex last week also decided to replace the reference ‘young persons’ in the Ordinance and to rename it as the Children’s Ordinance.

As per the amendments every reference to “Children and Young Persons Ordinance”, “children and young persons”, “child or young person” and “age of sixteen years” in any regulation or rule made under the principal enactment or notice, notification, contract, communication or other document issued under the principal enactment shall be read and construed as a reference respectively, to “Children’s Ordinance”, “children”, “child” and “age of eighteen years.

Section 71 of the Ordinance will be amended, by the repeal of subsection (6) of that section establishing that “nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the right of any parent, teacher or legal guardian to punish a child or youth”.

The purpose of the Children and Young Persons Ordinance Clause 23 is to make orders for the establishment of Juvenile Courts for the supervision of juvenile offenders for the protection of children and young persons.

State Minister Dr. Seetha Arambepola, Members of Parliament Thalatha Atukorala, Rohini Kaviratne, Eran Wickramaratne, Dr. Harini Amarasuriya, Manjula Dissanayake, Secretary to the Committee and Deputy Secretary General of Parliament Kushani Rohanadeera and senior officials representing the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms were present at the PSC meeting.

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80 houses destroyed in fire at Thotalanga



The scene of the fire(pic by Jude Denzil Pathiraja)

At least 80 houses were destroyed due to a fire that broke out in a highly congested area in Colombo on Tuesday (27) night. Around 220 people had been displaced, the police said.

The fire broke out at Kajeemawatte in Thotalanga at around 8 pm on Tuesday and it took firefighters several hours to bring the fire under control. Twelve fire engines were deployed, but many of the dwellings had been burnt out as approach roads were not wide enough for the vehicles to reach the fire.

Those who are affected are now housed in community centres and places of worship.

No casualties were reported in the incident. The police are yet to determine the cause of fire and the total damage to property has not been estimated still.

Meanwhile, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is on an official visit to Japan, has instructed Presidential Secretary Saman Ekanayake to take steps to provide immediate relief to all victims of the fire.

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