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UNP asks govt. not to make muddle of KNDU



‘Answer lies in making people aware of genuine intentions of the government’

By Piyasena Dissanayake

The government should take on board the views of all stakeholders and solve the Kotelawala National Defence University crisis without making any decision detrimental to free education, UNP Chairman and former Minister Vajira Abeywardena said yesterday.

Addressing the media at the UNP office in Elpitiya, the former minister said that the Kotelawala Defence University had been functioning well for the past 25 to 30 years producing graduates without any major issue.

“There are some who blame the UNP and Ranil Wickremesinghe for attempting to privatise education but it was the UNP that did the utmost to develop free education. The KDU was set up to train and educate the officers for the war against the LTTE. When the need to further educate the officers arose, the then UNP government decided to send ten cadet officers each to the state universities. When Wickremesinghe was the Minister of Education we sent ten army, navy and air force officer trainees to each state university. But the JVP opposed it stating that those were the spies sent by the government to gather intelligence about JVP student leaders and their operations in the universities. Therefore, the then government decided to send all those officer trainees to a separate defence faculty.

“The KDU is now a full-fledged university. It should be upgraded as per the needs of the time and the government should do that. But there should be a proper way of doing that. The government should not make use of the KDU to promote private universities in the country, and it should allay the fears in the minds of people about this project. It should explain to people what its true intentions are. We do not think anyone would oppose the upgrading of the KDU if they are made aware of the genuine intentions of the government. The government has mismanaged the whole issue. It should speak to all stakeholders and explain its plans. The matter should be solved amicably through the means of negotiations without letting it snowball into a major crisis.”

Opposition Leader of the Galle Municipal Council Dilith Nishantha also addressed the media conference.

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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries



The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.


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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter



The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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