President to India for talks with Manmohan
By The Sunday Leader Political Editor
President Mahinda Rajapakse is to visit New
Delhi for one to one talks with Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh in the second week
of November, The Sunday Leader learns.
The President is to discuss the security
situation in the country and the plans to
introduce a political solution to the ethnic
conflict with Prime Minister Singh in
addition to the steps taken to address the
humanitarian crisis in the Wanni.
Informed sources said the President's visit
will be a follow up to the meetings Senior
Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse had
with External Affairs Minister Pranab
Mukherjee, National Security Advisor M.K.
Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar
The firm date for the meeting scheduled for
the second week of November is to be
finalised after the preliminary groundwork
is done, a top source said.
Highly placed sources in Government told The
Sunday Leader President Rajapakse preferred
to deal with India in resolving the ethnic
conflict rather than with the West and that
it was a policy set out in the Mahinda
The President told the Chennai based Hindu
newspaper last week that the Government is
fully committed to a negotiated political
settlement based on a devolution of power
ensuring the democratic, political and
linguistic rights of 'all our Tamil brethren
within an undivided Sri Lanka.'
He also categorically ruled out a military
solution to what was described as a
The Sunday Leader learns the President will
also invite the Tamil National Alliance for
a meeting this week to discuss the way
forward on the political solution in
addition to convening a meeting of the All
Party Representative Committee (APRC).
The TNA was invited to a meeting by the
President on Saturday, October 25, but it
was later postponed after Rajapakse was
informed that the TNA leadership was in
The APRC is scheduled to meet on Monday and
Tuesday. A top source said the President may
convene a meeting of the Committee to
personally issue instructions on the way
The President met Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe on Friday, October 24 where
the importance of proceeding with a
political solution was discussed.
Wickremesinghe who informed the President he
will be leaving for Japan on Saturday,
November 1 said UNP MP and President's
Counsel K.N. Choksy can be contacted for
discussions on the outstanding issues
arising from the APRC.
It is learned Wickremesinghe will visit New
Delhi after the President returns from his
Fierce sea battle off
Meanwhile, the TamilNet website quoted
the Sea Tigers as claiming that 20 LTTE
boats took part in the battle and that they
destroyed two naval vessels, an Israeli
built Dvora gunboat and a hovercraft.
The Tigers also claimed to have damaged a
"Jet vessel of the SLN, although the
government did not report damage or loss of
any of its own naval craft.
The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS)
claimed in a statement that 18 LTTE cadres
were killed and 16 wounded in the naval
engagement, although TamilNet reports that
only seven LTTE sailors, all suicide cadres,
were killed. The MCNS statement further
claimed that five sailors were injured in
action while the LTTE claimed at least
four navy personnel were killed .
According to the Defence Ministry, the
air force also engaged the LTTE fleet at
8:30 a.m. destroying two boats and killing a
further three sea tigers.
The Defence Ministry also claimed that
seven senior sea tigers were among those
Wanni food convoy to move tomorrow
By Arthur Wamanan
The delayed food convoy to the IDPs in the
Wanni will travel tomorrow, UN and
government officials said.
UN spokesperson Gordon Weiss told The Sunday
Leader that the weekly food convoy jointly
organised by the UN and the government,
which was scheduled to travel to the Wanni
last Friday, will leave tomorrow.
Commissioner General of Essential Services
S.B. Divaratne said that the UN convoy of 30
trucks will contain 438 metric tonnes of
"Items such as rice, dhal and oil will be
sent in the convoy," he said. Divaratne had
also met the Government Agents of
Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu last Friday to
assess the progress of distribution of
essential items in the Wanni.
"We have already established a buffer stock
in the Wanni. According to the Government
Agents, most of the stores are now full and
they are finding it difficult to store the
food items. There are no problems at the
moment with regard to the essential items in
the Wanni," he said.
The government officials in the Wanni said
that there was an urgent need of shelter
materials due to the rains.
Divaratne added that shelter materials will
be sent with the next convoy, as the
government agents had given the
specifications only last week.
"There will not be a separate convoy for the
shelter materials. The materials will be
sent with the weekly convoy, as they
(shelter materials) too are provided by
humanitarian organisations," Divaratne
UNP to present alternate
The UNP will this week present an alternate
budget in Parliament setting out how the
party plans to address the economic issues
confronting the country.
The Government is to present its budget on
Wednesday, November 5.
The alternate budget of the UNP is to be
presented by Colombo District MP Ravi
The Sunday Leader learns, Opposition Leader
Ranil Wickremesinghe who left for Japan
yesterday had directed all UNP
parliamentarians to be present in the House
when the party's alternate budget is being
Western and Central
PCs to be dissolved
The government has decided to dissolve the
Western and Central Provincial Councils
before November 15 and call for elections
early in January it is learned.
Informed sources said that the elections for
these two councils may be held in the first
two weeks of January next year.
President Mahinda Rajapakse has called the
members of the Central Provincial Council
for a meeting at
10 a.m. at Temple Trees today (2). He is also scheduled to meet
the members of the Western Provincial
4 p.m. today.
CEB to incur Rs. 20 m loss
By Nirmala Kannangara
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is to
incur a loss of over Rs.20 million per day
due to the damage caused to the Kelanitissa
Power Station following the terrorist aerial
attack on Tuesday night.
Power generation by the Kerawalapitiya
Thermal Power Plant to the national grid
following the damage caused to the GT 7 (Gas
Turbine No: 7) at the Kelanitissa Power
Station is estimated to cost over Rs. 20
million per day to the Ceylon Electricity
Board (CEB), reliable sources from the CEB
told The Sunday Leader.
Following Tuesday's attack the Combined
Cycle Power Plant that consists of the steam
and GT 7 power plants were malfunctioning
according to the sources.
"The GT 7 power plant was severely damaged
but not the steam power plant. As a result
of the damage caused to the GT 7 the
authorities concerned had to discontinue the
functioning of the steam plant in order to
ensure that nothing goes wrong with the
machinery. However the GT 7 power plant has
to be repaired and according to the
assessment it will take a few months to
repair the machinery," the sources added.
According to the sources all parts have to
be imported to repair the machines and the
failure to add 160 MW to the national grid
from the Combined Cycle Power Plant is to
cost the CEB dearly.
"In order to substitute the 160MW generated
by GT 7 and Steam plant which generated 50MW
and 110MW respectively at the Kelanitissa
Power Station, the Kerawalapitiya Thermal
Power Plant which is on its test run has
initiated generating power from Thursday and
adds 100MW to the national grid. Since
Kerawalapitiya operates on thermal power
the loss per day has been estimated to be
over Rs. 20 million which is a colossal loss
to the CEB," the sources further stated.
Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne
was not contactable for his comments.
Legal action against
suppression of media urged
By Nirmala Kannangara
The SLFP (M) wing is to instigate legal
action against the controversial Gazette
notification that suppresses the electronic
media, Convener SLFP (M) wing
Parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera said.
The joint opposition on Friday charged the
government for stifling the fundamental
rights of freedom of thoughts and expression
and accused Defence Secretary Gotabaya
Rajapakse for being behind this entire
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
briefing the media said that the suppression
and restrictions imposed on media
institutions by the Rajapakse administration
was an indication as to how they want to
hide the truth from the public with regard
to the war situation in the country.
"This unofficial censorship is to hide the
war information from the public and
according to the Gazette notification, any
person who joins any political party cannot
have legal authorisation to have a licence
to operate a media institution which is
ridiculous," Wickremesinghe said.
Meanwhile Mangala Samaraweera said that this
course of action would not be the end to a
dictatorial regime but the start of a
"The economy is in shambles and a mere smoke
screen to hide the war situation is shown by
the government TV channels in order to hide
the Rajapakse brothers' inefficiency and
corruption within the government. Since the
free media institutions were bold enough to
highlight the government's incapability
there was no other option but to impose
restrictions to control the media
institutions that went against them,"
Accusing the Defence Minister and Army
Commander of being responsible in fermenting
nationalism, Samaraweera said that legal
action should be taken against both of them
before trying to take legal action against
the media personnel.
"Once Gotabaya Rajapakse said that the
police had to register the Tamils and
Muslims in Colombo because of the
'outsiders' infiltration to
Who were these outsiders? Whether it is
Tamils or Muslims Sri Lankan nationals
cannot be called outsiders, but those who
have infiltrated the country from
after 2005 could be rated as outsiders. The
Army Commander too recently stated that Sri
Lanka is the country for the Sinhalese,
which too is fermenting nationalism. Without
taking legal action against these two the
Rajapakse brothers want to act legally
against the media which tries to ferment
nationalism," charged Samaraweera.
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauf
Hakeem meanwhile accused Media Minister
Anura Priyadarshana Yapa of introducing a
Gazette notification without knowing what
the contents were. "When a group of foreign
journalists inquired about the restrictions
imposed on media institutions, Minister
Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was clueless and
had to verify the position from the Ministry
Secretary before answering the questions. If
the Media Minister has introduced the
Gazette notification he should have known
what the contents were. This clearly shows
that it was the Rajapakse Brothers who have
introduced the regulations and not the
minister," alleged Hakeem.
Indian film stars stage
Several South Indian film stars staged a hunger strike yesterday in Chennai,
in a show of solidarity with civilians affected by the battles raging in
northern Sri Lanka, the Indian media reported yesterday.
Several South Indian artistes including Nepolean, Styaraj, Vijay, Arjun,
Pasupathi, and Manorama attended the fast organised by the South Indian
Artiste's Association (SIAA), both NDTV and ANI reported.
Speaking to media at the day-long fast, SIAA president R. Sarath Kumar said
the program was organised "to express the association's solidarity with
Tamils living in Sri Lanka and support them."
He praised the Tamil Nadu state government and Indian central government for
"taking steps to find an amicable solution on the matter," and said he hopes
that normalcy will return to Sri Lanka soon.
Meanwhile, The Hindu yesterday reported that "nearly 75 percent" of shops in
Chennai and almost half the rural shops in Tamil Nadu were shut down on
Friday, in a protest organized by a DMK-backed trade union.
The traders were demanding an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka and the
distribution of relief materials to affected civilians through a UN agency,
The Hindu further reported.
Karuna, Moulana trade charges
The dispute between Karuna and Pillayan has
been dealt with by both parties, the former
told The Sunday Leader but was hotly
disputed by the TMVP spokesman Azad Moulana.
Karuna Amman said that the differences
within the party following his statement
with regard to the police powers for the
Eastern Provincial Council were now a thing
of the past.
"There is no problem within the party.
Everything has been sorted," he said. He
added that there were some people who wanted
problems within the party. "There are some
people who want to create problems within
the TMVP. But, we have sorted our issues and
there are no problems now."
He however stated that the TMVP was to take
disciplinary action against Azadd Moulana,
one time party spokesperson and Pillayan
loyalist for making statements against
"He had said that I have been appointed as
the head of the military wing. There is no
such thing as a military wing of the TMVP.
We intend to take disciplinary action
against Moulana for making such statements,"
Karuna said. Moulana last week stated that
Karuna had been removed from the party's
TMVP spokesperson Moulana said that the
issue had been brought under control, as the
rift was affecting the party and also the
He however said that Karuna had still not
responded to the party's demand for an
explanation on his statement that the
Eastern Provincial Council did not need
Moulana last week repeated that Karuna was
ousted from his leadership and was appointed
as the head of the military wing.
He had said that the issue could be sorted
through discussions. "The parties concerned
have decided to come to an amicable
settlement and not to go on with the issue."
He also added that there would be a TMVP
committee meeting in the near future and
added that Karuna would be invited to attend
"We have not decided on a date to have the
meeting. But, we will invite Karuna Amman
also to attend the meeting," he said.
LTTE accuses Govt of
breaching deal with India
The LTTE has lashed out at the government
for conducting aerial and artillery
bombardment of civilian-populated areas in
the Killinochchi district despite assuring
the Indian government that civilians would
not fall victim to the ongoing military
In a statement datelined October 30, the
LTTE Political Wing said that "within a few
days of the Sri Lankan Government saying to
the Indian Government that it will not carry
out attacks on civilians, it has carried out
attacks on Paranthan and Vallipunam civilian
The "Sri Lankan army is also continually
carrying out discriminate artillery attacks
on civilian settlements in Killinochchi,"
the Tigers further said, adding that "many
civilians were killed and injured," and that
many homes have been destroyed.
According to the LTTE, the air force on
Thursday bombed a civilian housing scheme
set up by the Swiss CARIDAS backed Human
Development Centre (HUDEC) in Vallipunam,
Mullaitivu, killing one 14 year old school
child, and injuring six civilians including
a three month old baby.
An official at HUDEC based outside the
conflict area said it was impossible to
verify the occurrence of such a bombing due
to a communications blackout, although it
had been reported in several newspapers
He said the large housing scheme was
constructed between 2004-2005, and that it
had been heavily populated by civilians
fleeing the raging battles in the Western
"With the recent evacuation of people from
the Western side of the Wanni, a number of
people have shifted there," the official
The government maintains that it follows a
"zero tolerance" policy on civilian
casualties in the battle. President Rajapkse
recently revealed that he had directed the
armed forces to "refrain from inflicting any
harm, even a scratch" to civilians in the
Communist Party calls for political solution
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL) has
called upon the government to implement a
political solution to the ethnic conflict.
A media release under the name of party
General Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera calls
upon the government to be firm on finding a
political solution without falling prey to
extremist forces in either the north or
The Communist Party praised the government's
actions to defuse tensions with India
following the backlash in Tamil Nadu over
the northern military campaign, and commends
the government's hardline stand against the
EU over threats to withdraw the GSP+ trade
The CPSL attributed the worsening global
financial crisis to the "destructive"
foreign and defence policies of the US, and
requested that the government take the
necessary steps to protect the public from
its consequences reaching Sri Lanka.
Gunasekera also said the government should
continue to protect civilians in the north
and provide them with necessary humanitarian
Mobile companies to keep tab on child sex
A leading mobile company has taken the
initiative to prevent access to child
sexual abuse content from external websites
through their services.
Dialog Telecom PLC has joined the GSMA's
Mobile Alliance against the sexual abuse of
children and supports the GSMA Mobile
Alliance that works towards protecting the
rights of children and preventing their
The company will support the GSMA Mobile
Alliance's mission of obstructing the use of
the mobile environment by individual and
organisations wishing to consume or profit
from child sexual abuse content.
"Dialog has to be commended for its
leadership in addressing this important
issue. We call on more Asian mobile
operators to join the Alliance and take
further steps to prevent their networks from
being used as a means of accessing or
hosting pictures and videos of children
being sexually abused," says CEO and member
of the GSMA Board Rob Conway.
"We are restricting internet access to child
sexual abuse content via mobile phones to
coincide with the International Children's
Day 2008," Chairman NCPA Jagath Wellawatte
Group Chief Corporate Officer Dialog Telecom
PLC Mothilal de Silva added that as a
responsible Corporate they agree with the
Mobile Alliance against child sexual abuse
content on the need to be mindful and on
ensuring a proper balance between the
interests of law enforcement and respect of
fundamental human rights on this subject
matter. "We feel that controlling this type
of menace is important to protect our future
generations from exploitation and ensure
information security," de Silva said.
Golden Anniversary of SL Housewives' Assn.
The Sri Lanka Housewives' Association (SLHA),
the largest women's organisation in Sri
Lanka will celebrate its Golden Anniversary
with a gala banquet and evening of
entertainment from 7 pm onwards at the
Holiday Inn Hotel on November 8.
The SLHA has a membership of over 5000 in
Colombo and 17 branches islandwide. Music
for the Golden Jubilee Night will be
provided by the popular band, Friends in
Harmony who will play golden oldies, music
for dancing and accompany the young at heart
in a sing-a-long session to keep the 18 to
80s in a fantastic mood.
The evergreen Faizal will compere in his
inimitable style and entertain the audience
with many surprises and games.
The principal sponsor is Reckitt Benckiser
(Sri Lanka) Ltd. Valuable prizes will be
offered on the ticket and souvenir draws. A
limited number of dinner tickets are
available at Rs. 2000 per head at the SLHA
headquarters, 179 Sir James Peiris Mawatha,
Evicted payment hawkers yet to receive
By Risidra Mendis
The Mahinda Chinthanaya has once again
failed to fulfill the promises made to
pavement hawkers at the Janatha Pola in
Pavement hawkers who were forced to leave
the pavements with the promises by the Sri
Jayawardenapura Cooperative of suitable
shelter inside the pola are yet to receive
the basic facilities.
Speaking to The Morning Leader Secretary,
Sri Jayawardenapura Cooperative Janatha Pola
United Associates (SJCJPUA) Nisalka
Sumithrarachchi said some pavement hawkers
were allowed to sell vegetables inside the
Janatha Pola while others were forced to go
back to the pavements due to the harassment
from Jayawardenapura Cooperative officials.
"When a decision was taken to shift the
pavement hawkers into the Janatha pola we
appealed to Minister of Urban Development
Dinesh Gunewardene, and Western Provincial
Council member Piyasena Dissanyake to get
the Sri Jayawardenapura Cooperative to
undertake the administrative work,"
On February 2, 2006 on the request of
Gunewardene and Dissanayake the cooperative
undertook the administrative work of the
Janatha pola. On March 24, 2006 the then
Chairman of the cooperative and government
officials erected a plaque and hoarding on
the land selected to build the Janatha pola.
"These officials promised us that the
Janatha pola would be built within one and a
half years from this date. The cooperative
told the pavement hawkers to make donations
towards the building. When we said we don't
have the money to pay them the cooperative
officials promised to grant us loans of Rs.
5 lakhs per hawker through the Rural Bank on
the agreement that the hawkers become
members of the cooperative. It is two years
and seven months since then but the pola
building is yet to be completed,"
He added that a request to meet with
cooperative officials was not granted. "When
the SJCJPUA held a picketing in August 2007
cooperative officials asked pavement hawkers
to make a payment towards the building. The
officer who collected the payments from the
hawkers didn't give the money to the
cooperative. On September 22 this year the
water supply was cut," P. Nimal Silva said.
Commissioner Department of Cooperative
Development Western Province S.H.Hewage was
not available for a comment.
Australian senator calls for the
proscription of LTTE
Australian Senator Stephen Hutchins has
called on the country's government to take
steps to proscribe the LTTE as a terrorist
organisation under the Security Legislation
Amendment (Terrorism) Act 2002.
The senator had made this request following
the suicide bomb attack in Anuradhapura on
October 6, which killed Sri Lanka's former
High Commissioner to Australia, retired
Major General Janaka Perera and several
Senator Hutchins in a letter dated October
8, addressed to the Attorney General of
Australia, Robert McLelland and copied to
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, the Senator
for New South Wales and Chairman of the
Australia-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship
Group, stated that, "it has been common
knowledge for years that Australian-based
Tamil expatriates have used Australian
organisations and businesses as fronts to
funnel money back to the LTTE."
Senator Hutchins had also pointed out that
the country would be sending a strong
message that it does not tolerate terrorism,
by proscribing the LTTE and holding local
Tamils accountable. "Only through
proscribing the LTTE as a terrorist
organisation, will we be able to empower the
Australian government to take appropriate
action against individuals who insist on
funneling money to this organisation."
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha
Bogollagama had also called upon his
Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith to
proscribe the LTTE during his recent visit
"The Australian Minister had responded by
stating that this matter is currently under
consideration by the Attorney General," a
statement by the Foreign Ministry said.
"No statements affecting India's
Chairman of the Indian Film Artistes'
Association (FAA), R. Sarathkumar had called
upon the actors not to make statements
affecting India's sovereignty during the
protest against the attack on Sri Lankan
The protest organised by FAA was to be held
yesterday at Thiyaharaya Nagar, Chennai. Two
Tamil Directors, Ameer and Seeman who were
arrested for making statements in favour of
the LTTE during a protest in Rameshwaram on
October 19 were released on bail last
A string of protests were held in Tamil Nadu
last month by various organisations against
the 'genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.'
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister last Sunday (26)
said that he would not pressurise the
Central government on the Sri Lankan issue
following the Indian government's promise to
send 800 metric tonnes of essential items.
However, the Tigers last week said that the
Air Force had recommenced attacking civilian
targets in the Wanni days after the Tamil
Pro-Tiger websites quoting a statement by
the LTTE Political Wing stated that at least
two persons had been killed last week due to
artillery and air attacks carried out by the
military. A 16 year-old student was also
among those killed, according to the sites.
Chinese melamine scandal widens
The toxic chemical melamine is probably
being routinely added to Chinese animal
feed, state media has reported.
Correspondents say the unusually frank
reports in several news outlets are an
admission that contamination could be
widespread throughout the food chain.
The problem widened last weekend when the
authorities in Hong Kong reported that
melamine had also been detected in Chinese
eggs. Four brands of eggs have since been
found to be contaminated, and agriculture
officials speculate that the cause was
probably melamine-laced feed given to hens.
The feed industry seems to have acquiesced
to agree on using the chemical to reduce
production costs while maintaining the
protein count for quality inspections, the
state-run China Daily said in an editorial.
Nidhan Wastu deposition ceremony
Nidhan Wasthu deposition ceremony of newly
constructed Chaithaya at Narahenpita Dabare
Mawatha Sri Gauthama Viharaya will be held
on November 3 (Monday). The deposition of
Nidhan Wasthu will take place at the
auspicious time of 10 am under the patronage
of Viharadhipathi Rev. Omalpe Sumanaratana
Thero. The dayaka sabha of Gauthama Viharaya
will organise the event.
No action on those found guilty of bribery
and corruption- Sally
By Nirmala Kannangara
The municipal administration in
over the past few months has been plagued by
mal-administration alleged former Deputy
Mayor Colombo Municipal Council Azad Sally.
The Western Province Chief minister's
failure to take necessary action against the
council over the past 10 months based on the
one-man commission report by retired Appeal
Court Judge Chandradasa Nanayakkara has led
to a group of Colombo residents to instigate
legal action against the administration.
"Following the Supreme Court directive the
Chief Minister who failed to act on the
former one man commission report has now
appointed yet another one man commission to
take action against the council members and
officials who were found guilty of bribery
and corruption charges. What was the reason
for Chief Minister Reginald Cooray not to
take disciplinary action against the council
when there was plenty of proof as to how
they played out public money?" asked Sally.
According to Sally, Chief Minister Cooray's
decision to appoint yet another one-man
commission was to hood wink the court to
cover up his failure to take appropriate
"The reason for the appointment of the
second commission was to show the Supreme
Court that he (Cooray) has taken action, in
order to avert any warning against him,"
However Opposition Leader Vasudeva
Nanayakkara refuting allegation levelled
against the Chief Minister told The Sunday
Leader that Chief Minister Cooray's decision
to appoint yet another one-man commission
was to find out exactly who has to be
charged for mal-administration in the CMC.
"Also the first report stated that the
council is responsible for six out of the
eight charges. There are many who have clean
hands and minds. So it was unfair by those
who have a good track record if all the
members are charged. The second commission
would find out as to who is guilty and who
had no hand in the misdeeds," added
Nanayakkara.All attempts to contact Governor
Alavi Moulana and Chief Minister Reginald
Cooray by The Sunday Leader failed.
IPFM concerned over deterioration of press
The International Press Freedom Mission (IPFM)
has expressed its concern over the
deterioration of press freedom in Sri Lanka
The IPFM said that it found deterioration in
the press freedom situation since its last
visit in June 2007, "marked by a
continuation in murders, attacks,
abductions, intimidation and harassment of
the media." In the World Press Freedom Index
published by RSF recently, Sri Lanka has
fallen to the lowest press freedom rating of
any democratic country worldwide.
It also said it was alarmed at the use of an
anti-terrorism law 'for the first time in
the democratic world' to punish journalists
purely for what they have written.
"J.S. Tissainayagam, B. Jasiharan and V.
Vallarmathy have been detained since March
2008 and later charged under the Prevention
of Terrorism Act. The Mission is worried
about the dangerous precedent this sets for
all media nationally and internationally,"
"In recent months journalists and media
institutions seeking to report independently
on the ongoing conflict have been attacked
and intimidated in a seeming effort to limit
public knowledge about the conduct of the
war and to reveal their sources. This is a
violation of the public right to know and
the accepted norm that media sources should
The IPFM also said that media in the north
and east have continued to bear the brunt of
the worst forms of insecurity. "Media access
to war-affected areas is heavily restricted
with journalists forced to reproduce
information disseminated by the conflicting
"In the LTTE-controlled areas freedom of
expression and freedom of movement continue
to be heavily restricted preventing diverse
opinions and access to plural sources of
Media rules gazetted on October 10 by the
government provide for a number of
contingencies under which broadcasting
licences can be cancelled, including seven
different grounds related to broadcast
content, according to the IPFM.
"Moreover, a popular broadcast channel has
been put on notice that it is to submit
transcripts of news broadcasts "to be
carried" every week as of October 28. The
International Mission deplores any effort to
impose prior restraint or direct censorship
on the media."
Two million square metres of land cleared of
The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has in the
last nine months cleared more than two
million square metres of land.
MAG's work in
consists of manual clearance, mechanical
clearance and Community Liaison activities.
According to MAG, it has cleared 2,239,300
square metres of land through a combination
of manual and mechanical techniques. It said
that 10 anti-personnel mines and 22 items of
unexploded ordnance have been removed.
MAG has been operational in Batticaloa for
the last five years, assisting the
government in meeting the target to free the
country from the impact of mines by the end
Local authorities to produce organic
By Risidra Mendis
The Environment Ministry has provided
facilities to eight local government
authorities to produce organic fertiliser.
The Sunday Leader learns that the organic
fertiliser is to be produced by recycling
garbage under the "Pilisaru programme"
initiated by the Environment Ministry. The
project is to cost Rs. 30 million.
Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka has
released 30% of the Rs. 30 million to the
local government authorities for the
implementation of the project. The Minister
according to an agreement signed with the
local government authorities has requested
them to submit a progress report before the
end of December this year.
Petrol shed owners flout CAA instructions to
display price of 2T oil
By Risidra Mendis
Petrol sheds in the country have failed to
display the price of 2T oil, despite
instructions by the Consumer Affairs
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, President
AITWDWA Lalith Dharmasekera said that while
some petrol sheds continue to sell engine
oil to trishaw drivers on the pretext that
it is 2T oil other petrol sheds charge
exorbitant rates for 2T oil.
"The authorities have increased the price of
2T oil without thinking of the plight of the
trishaw drivers. The price of 2T oil was
increased from Rs. 228 to Rs. 262 per litre
a few weeks ago," Dharmasekera said.
He added that a trishaw driver has to use 30
ml. of 2T oil with one litre of petrol. "30
ml. of 2T oil is sold at Rs. 15. We use at
least four litres of petrol per day. But
even the 30 ml. of 2T oil we buy is not
genuine," Dharmasekera explained