November 19, 2019
tami sin youtube  twitter facebook

    Port City legislation to Cabinet within few weeks Featured

    June 20, 2019

    The legislation pertaining to Port City shall be presented to the Cabinet within the next few weeks, State Minister of Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said.The State Minister also said that the said legislation will expedite the process of promoting the Port City as an ocean-metropolis of finance, technology, tourism and real state.

    Minister De Silva made these observations participating in the debate on Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation Bill.Dr. De Silva observed that the project had to face some delays due to certain changes requested by the present government to the Port City agreement with its international counterpart.

    “When we took over, the previous government had agreed to outright sell 50 acres of land belonging to the Chinese company. Since we wanted to change the agreement we had to take our time. The government is in no way ready to sell any land to foreign countries,” the Minister furthered.Speaking on the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation Bill, Minister De Silva said that the government institutions have strong visions but the government officers do not share the same visions.

    Two tunnel projects in Colombo city for flood control - Patali

    Currently, two tunnel projects have been initiated in Colombo City for flood control with World Bank aid. One is in the Colombo North area and the other is from Independence Square to Bambalapitiya, said Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka.Moving the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (Amendment) Bill in Parliament yesterday, Minister Ranawaka also said that an area of 160 hectares would be reclaimed from the sea from Kollupitiya to Dehiwala.Explaining about the two canals underground and over, for flood control, he said these have already been completed.

    “One is from the Kinsey Road area and the other is from Devi Balika Vidyalaya through the Borella Cemetery. In addition, we are in the process of establishing three pumping stations to pump the water when the Kelani River water level rises in Nagalaganweediya, St. Bastian’s and Kaduwela areas. We are also streamlining the water transport system from Nugegoda to Kesbewa, which has achieved positive results. The Piliyandala, Boralesgamuwa areas no longer go under water during heavy rains. For the second stage of this project, we have chosen the Kolonnawa area, while in the third stage we will focus on the Peliyagoda and Wattala areas.”

    The Minister noted that under the Megapolis Ministry, the Beira Lake and surrounding areas have also been developed. In the Beira Lake project, we have relocated the shanty dwellers by providing them proper housing. By next year, we intend to establish a pumping station near the Presidential Secretariat to pump out the Beira Lake water periodically and pump out the polluted water. I can proudly say that this project is being done entirely on the expertise of our local engineers. “

    He said the main purpose of amending the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation Bill is to change its name to Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation. When this institution was established the focus was on wetlands and the need to fill low lying lands. However, with the current environmental activities of these areas and urban development, it was felt that this name is not appropriate and hence, the need to change it arose.

    “It is a known fact that due to climate changes, we have had to face serious flood conditions, especially in the low lying areas in the Western Province. Today it is of vital importance to control floods in these areas. Even the parliament went under water during the floods in 2010. A two pronged approach is required to control this. One being to develop the water retention capacity and expedite its flow into the sea. Similarly, it is vital to remove the obtructions of the lakes and the Kelani river,” Minister Ranawaka noted.

    He said, “Today we have taken measures regarding these two factors. We are in the process of establishing a real time prediction centre and by this we can accurately predict a flood 18 hours ahead. Accordingly, if there is a threat to Parliament or the adjacent buildings, we will be in a position to issue a warning beforehand. By next year, we intend to establish and operate a specific centre for this purpose. Further, due to action taken to preserve and develop our wetlands and environment, the Colombo and the adjacent areas have gained recognition as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites). There are only a very few capital cities which have gained such international importance. Hence, we must protect them.”

    He said after the Meetotamulla garbage dump catastrophy in 2017, the Megapolis Ministry had instructed the CMC to implement a proper garbage disposal mechanism. However, two years down the line nothing has been done. “Meanwhile, we have initiated two projects to generate electricity using garbage. One of these projects is scheduled to be operational by October, this year and the other next year. Further, a completely scientific garbage yard has been constructed in Serakkuli in Puttalam entirely with local funds. Therefore, we appeal to the public to handover their garbage to this facility without dumping it on the streets. We also urge the CMC to take this garbage issue seriously.”

    He also said that with the aim of preventing river sand being excavated for construction purposes to provide cleaned sea sand for construction. Minister Ranawaka said that the aim of to increase the use of sea sand to 500,000 cubes by 2020. In 2014 only around 33,000 cubes of sea sand was washed and supplied to the Land Development Corporation and by 2018 it had increased to 250,000 cubes.

    “Moreover, through the Port City project, our local engineers gained great engineering knowledge about sea erosion and how to utilise the sand which gets carried into the rivers. Despite environmentalists expressing fears over the Port City reclamation, we have successfully reclaimed 700 acres without any issue.

    Our next move is to reclaim another 160 hectares between Kollupitiya and Dehiwala. We intend to initiate a sea city project in the future under the Land Development Corporation. We have developed the Land Development Corporation while in 2014 our income was Rs. 2500 million and we have succeeded in increasing this income to Rs. 18 billion within three years.

    When I took over in 2015, this institution was recording a loss of Rs. 155 million, but today we are making a Rs. 2800 million profit despite numerous political challenges last year,” the minister added.

    He said many cities worldwide have developped around main rivers. However, Sri Lanka has not utilised the Kelani River for proper development. “All we have done is use it to dump our garbage. Therefore, we have proposed to develop the Kelani River and implement a proper water management programme,” he said, adding that a multi purpose project centred around the Mahaweli River would also be implemented.

    Speaker admits issue with Kiriella’s withdrawal of withdrawal

    Responding to objection raised regarding Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella’s withdrawal of a previous withdrawal in Parliament on Tuesday, which led to much confusion in the House, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya agreed to the objections raised and admitted yesterday that there was an issue.

    SLFP-MP Chandima Weerakkody raising the issue in Parliament yesterday said that the Leader of the House presented a Supplementary Estimate to Parliament on Tuesday and subsequently withdrew it. Then later that same evening, he made a statement saying he was withdrawing the previous withdrawal. Then the Chair at that time Bimal Ratnayake said the matter should be referred to the Speaker.

    He said, “But so far you have not given your ruling on this matter. Our view on this matter is that it was not appropriate for the Leader of the House to represent the Supplementary Estimate and then later withdraw it and again submit it as and when he desires when most of the MPs were not there.”

    However, the Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella said it can be done under Standing Orders while Parliament was in progress. Hence, as requested by the Chair it was submitted it to the Speaker and he should give a ruling on it.

    The Speaker said that as there were several complications in the Supplementary Estimate presented to Parliament and the Leader of the House himself said he was not even aware of it. Hence, a decision would have to be taken.

    Raising a Point of Order, MP Chandima Weerakkody said the matter was referred to the Speaker for a ruling. “I would like to know under what Standing Orders did the Leader of the House present the Supplementary Estimate and then claim he was not even aware of it.”

    Expressing his views as the MP who raised this issue, JVP-MP Bimal Ratnayake said Minister Kiriella had claimed not to know anything about the Supplementary Estimate and had withdrawn it. “Later when I was presiding the Chair, Kiriella again withdrew the earlier withdrawal and said that the Rs. 19 million allocation in that Supplementary Estimate was not for him but for the repair of another minister’s official residence.

    However, as I felt it was unsuitable for me to debate the matter with the Leader of the House while I was presiding the Chair, as I had raised this matter, I directed the Parliament Secretary General to forward the matter to the Speaker. However, it is my view that the Leader of the House has no special power on this matter as this is not a mere ministry document. This is a very vital document which the Finance Committee has endorsed. When such an important document is presented and withdrawn, it should be done responsibly. Therefore, I agree with what was said by former Deputy Speaker and MP Chandima Weerakkody.”

    In response, Minister Kiriella said that such arguments should be raised according to standing orders and demanded to know under which standing orders these arguments were raised.

    However, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that as there had been several errors in the Supplementary Estimate and it needs to be rectified.

    Many graduate teachers find it difficult to teach assigned subjects - Gayantha

    Many newly appointed graduate teachers have found it difficult to teach the subjects assigned to them at schools, Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms and Chief Government Whip, Gayantha Karunatileka revealed in Parliament yesterday.

    According to the results of a recent survey, he said some of these graduates were granted appointments not relevant to the subjects of their degrees.

    Minister Karunatileka, said that arbitrary decisions made by the Provincial Councils in recruiting graduates to fill teacher vacancies have led to issues that affects the students and the entire education system in the country.

    “Several years ago, graduates were recruited throught the Provincial Councils and they were given teaching appointments in subjects of their choice and as per the existing vacancies. The problem is that many of those subjects are different from the subjects which they have graduated in. It has also been found that some of the newly appointed teachers even do class work without preparation,” he said.

    “In order to overcome this issue, based on the provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, a Cabinet Paper was submitted to allocate appointments relevant to the graduates and absorb them into the Teaching Service,” he said.

    Rajitha decries “mafia of tinned salmon importers”

    Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said some groups involved in importing tinned salmon are levelling baseless allegations against the flourishing production of local tinned salmon.

    Minister Senaratne also denied the allegations that local-made tinned salmon production is low in taste and quality. Senaratne accused “a mafia of tinned salmon importers” for spreading such rumours.

    Senaratne pointed out that four factories that produce tinned salmon are working their way up in the midst of many hardships. “One of the said factories in the Gamapaha area is now exporting tinned salmon. Any allegation levelled against these products is instigated by the tinned salmon importers. There has been a mafia that imports tinned salmon for a long time. From 1970, attempts to produce local made tinned salmon failed until now,” Minister Senaratne pointed out.

    dgi log front