Moving on up - In this digital age,
the Sri Lanka Police force is trying keeping up. Picture shows
a police officer using a hi-tech camera phone to snap pictures
of the Alawwa collision last week, which killed 37 commuters
-- Photo by Gamini Wickremasinghe
Moragoda to do the honours
seeks pardon for SB from CBK
The United National Party (UNP) last
week decided to ask President Chandrika Kumaratunga to grant
the party's imprisoned National Organising Secretary S. B.
Lanka goes for sovereign rating
issues ultimatum to governmen
JVP hold talks
unions fear BPC entry
acknowledges Interim Committee
Moragoda to do the honours
seeks pardon for SB from CBK
The United National Party (UNP) last
week decided to ask President Chandrika Kumaratunga to grant the
party's imprisoned National Organising Secretary S. B. Dissanayake a
The UNP's decision follows an appeal
made to the party by associates and family members of Dissanayake.
The former samurdhi minister was in
November 2004 sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment by the
Supreme Court for the offence of contempt of court.
The Sunday Leader learns Dissanayake
who is currently at the Merchant's Ward of the Colombo General
Hospital himself had requested several persons including Buddhist
monks and diplomats to urge the President to grant him a pardon.
Informed sources said the final
decision to seek a pardon from the President followed a visit
Colombo District MP, Milinda Moragoda paid to Dissanayake in
Dissanayake had reportedly told
Moragoda that since the Colombo District member enjoyed a healthy
relationship with the President and the President held him in high
regard, he should personally call on the President and seek a
Moragoda it is learnt had consulted UNP
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who in turn had consulted the party
hierarchy and agreed to permit Moragoda to meet the President and
make the appeal as requested by Dissanayake in view of his failing
Moragoda who met Dissanayake in
hospital on Friday conveyed the approval received from
Wickremesinghe and indicated he would be seeking an appointment with
President Kumaratunga this week.
Lanka goes for sovereign rating
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The government of Sri Lanka has decided
to get a sovereign rating for the country.
Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B.
Jayasundera said that the government decided last week to get the
He told The Sunday Leader that a
cabinet approved committee comprising members of the Central Bank,
Finance Ministry and private sector organisations is to be formed to
look into the process.
The committee after studying the matter
would request a private rating firm to go about the sovereign rating
The process is expected to take two to
three months to be completed. The rating is expected to cost Sri
Lanka in the region of US$ 1 million.
Dr. Jayasundera noted that receiving a
sovereign rating would especially benefit the private sector as it
would build market confidence.
He explained that South Asian countries
like India and Pakistan have been rated, adding that now Sri Lanka
too plans to join the list.
"Although certain companies in the
country have been rated, the country has not been rated," he
Sounding positive, Dr. Jayasundera said
that the country is currently experiencing sufficient economic
growth to receive a decent rating.
With the country's export sector doing
well and the per capita income level reaching the 1,000 dollar mark,
the economy is expected to be buoyant.
Although the country faces macro and
micro economic challenges, new growth centers are looked at.
Dr. Jayasundera noted that amidst
various issues, the country has managed to maintain a 5.5% growth
level, adding that 24-25% GDP level could be increased to 30%, at
which point the country's economy would be on a higher level.
He explained that it is time for the
country's strengths to be known.
"The negative aspects are known
and it is time the positives are also known," he said.
The negative issues faced by the
country as pointed out by Dr. Jayasundera are the fuel issue, public
sector restructuring, lack of proper infrastructure, tsunami,
conflict resolution, etc.
issues ultimatum to government
The Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) last
week warned the government that any change of policy with regard to
the implementation of the Upper Kotmale Hydro Power Project (UKHPP)
would compel the party to quit the government.
The Congress issued its warning after
it was revealed that a fresh tender has been called for the
implementation of the Upper Kotmale Hydro Project.
The CWC last week informed the cabinet
of ministers that if the government went ahead implementing the
Kotmale project bypassing its original pledge to implement the CWC's
alternative proposal, it would quit the government.
The government originally planned to
implement the water project by harnessing the available hydro
potential of the Upper Kotmale basin. This included tapping six
The CWC vehemently protested against
this move and suggested an alternative proposal to harness
hydropower only from Kotmale Oya.
Having promised to implement the CWC's
proposal the government has now decided to go ahead with its
original plan thereby tapping six waterfalls in the hill country.
CWC officials said the Power and Energy
Ministry was flouting a cabinet decision to cancel the earlier
The CWC earlier said that if all six
waterfalls are tapped to implement the hydro project, it would
affect the scenic beauty of the hill country and would also lead to
loosening of the soil. This they said might result in earthslips and
They also said the cabinet decided to
squash the earlier tender and call for a fresh tender to implement
its own alternative proposal. However, it is learnt that the
government's fresh tender is to go ahead with the original plan to
tap all six waterfalls.
The Ministry called for a tender on
January 26, 2005 to go ahead with the original plan to tap all six
waterfalls. The Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) appointed for
this tender submitted its report to the Cabinet Appointed Tender
Board (CATB) on March 3.
The report said the TEC evaluated all
bids received and recommended award of the tender to the lowest
evaluated, technically and commercially responsive offer of Ms.
Meada Corporation Japan at a contract price of Sri Lanka Rs.
4,268,679,022 subject to successful conclusion of negotiations to
arrive at a lower contract price.
The CATB that met on March 3 has
indicated that the tenders have been invited from only three
qualified bidders and the lowest evaluated bid price is 29.7 percent
higher than the engineer's estimate price.
The Board has further said that
according to the TEC report, all offers have exceeded 29.7 percent
to 73.5 percent of the engineers estimate and since the tender had
been called from among the pre qualified bidders, it is not
necessary to call the tender afresh.
A letter written by M.P.D.U.K. Mapa
Pathirana from the Finance and Planning Ministry has also informed
Chief Representative, JBIC, Shinya Ejima that the CATB at its
meeting held on March 3 has decided to negotiate with the lowest
bidder to explore all possible avenues to reduce the total contract
JVP hold talks
TULF President V. Anandasangari on
Thursday met the JVP leadership at its headquarters for a discussion
The talks centered on the Indian model
Contacted by The Sunday Leader
Anandasangari confirmed the meeting and added it was the fourth
round of talks he has had with the JVP.
Anandasangari said he was holding
discussions wth the JVP with a view to convincing them to accept the
Indian model of federalism and added he was optimistic that the
Marxists would some day be willing to accept this model.
He also said this model will be an
acceptable solution to the protracted ethnic strife in the island.
unions fear BPC entry
The non withdrawal of the cabinet paper
regarding the entrance of a third player into the petroleum market
has created suspicion among the trade unions who fear the one third
share could still be vested with the Bharath Petroleum Corporation (BPC)
The Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS)
voiced suspicion claiming the government intends to go ahead with
the earlier proposal of divesting the one third share of the
petroleum industry held by the Treasury with BPC.
"The cabinet paper should be
withdrawn, if not the government could still go ahead with the
proposal to get BPC as the third player," they said.
Trade unions have been up in arms
against the government's decision to bring in a third player to the
The joint trade unions of the Ceylon
Petroleum Corporation (CPC) have protested the divestiture of the
one third share to the BPC and requested the government to divest it
with the CPC.
The Petroleum Common Services Union (PCSU)
maintains that the one third share should be divested with the CPC
or a new public company, which would be a subsidiary of the CPC.
The final report of the sub committee
appointed to look into the crisis in the petroleum industry and make
relevant recommendations was handed to the cabinet of ministers on
February 18 this year and the main recommendation out of the 13
recommendations of the committee is to divest the one third share
held by the Treasury with the CPC.
The unions are up in arms against the
entrance of a private sector third player and while alternative
proposals have been forwarded by the PCSU, the government has still
not granted its approval to them nor forwarded any counter proposals
However, according to Power and Energy
Minister, Susil Premajayanth they have drawn up a new set of
proposals where the one third share of the petroleum industry
currently under the Treasury, would be divested with the newly
formed public sector company.
According to the proposal, 10% of the
company will be owned by the workers, 5% by dealers while 33% will
be put in the share market.
Premajayanth is yet to discuss the new
proposal with the trade unions before handing it over to the cabinet
acknowledges Interim Committee
The International Cricket Council (ICC)
has acknowledged that the Interim Committee appointed by Sports
Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga is the body lawfully conducting the
affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket.
In a letter of acknowledgement sent to
the Interim Committee Secretary, Tryphon Mirando, ICC Chief
Executive Officer, Malcolm Speed noted that the Interim Committee
was appointed by the Minister in accordance with Sri Lankan law.
Speed's acknowledgement was in response
to a letter sent to the ICC detailing the action taken by the Sports
Minister thus far following the suspension of Sri Lanka Cricket on
While focusing on the sequence of
events that took place following the suspension of Sri Lanka Cricket
and the outcome of each event, Speed however noted that he was not
aware of the result from the court hearing held on April 12.
Speed requested the Interim Committee
of Sri Lanka Cricket to keep the ICC informed on further proceedings
regarding Sri Lanka Cricket and issues that cricket's world
governing body should take into account.
Ambassador condemns killing
Japanese Ambassador in Colombo, Akio
Suda condemned the killing of senior journalist Dharmaratnam Sivaram
In a statement the Ambassador said he
was shocked and extremely disturbed by the news of the abduction and
killing of the senior journalist. "I express my heartfelt
condolences and sympathy to his bereaved family and friends.
Whatever be the background of the perpetrators, such a heinous act
should not be tolerated," he said.
"Freedom of speech is the very
basic component of a democratic society and should be upheld and
respected by one and all. This murder of Sivaram is a blatant attack
on democracy and the freedom of speech and must not be ignored by
those who advocate peace and democracy. I vehemently condemn this
dastardly act of the murder of Sivaram and wish to state that such
despicable acts will not hinder the efforts of promoting the peace
process in Sri Lanka," he said.
Radio sued over song
M.R. Associates Pvt. Ltd. has sought an
injunction order from the Commercial High Court of the Western
Province preventing ABC Radio Networks from broadcasting the song
titled Kathal Yanai (Elephant in Love) through its channel Sooriyan
M.R. Associates Pvt. Ltd. is also
claiming Rs. 25 million in damages from ABC Radio Networks.
M.R. Associates states that they are
the copyright holders of the Indian films titled Anniyan, Kana
Kandein and Daas including the songs that are included in the
The plaintiff further states that the
defendants had violated copyright laws by playing the song Kathal
Yanai over their radio channel without obtaining prior approval from
The plaintiff states that M.R.
Associates is entitled to pray for damages from the defendant in
terms of Section 22 and Section 170 of the Intellectual Property Act
No.36 of 2003 in respect of the damages caused to the plaintiff by
the defendant through the unlawful and illegal broadcasting of the
The plaintiff states that even though
the damages caused by the defendant through such broadcast is
irreparable, the plaintiff reasonably estimates a sum of Rs. 25
million for the purpose of its claim as the damages.
Attorney at Law, G.G. Arulpragasam is
appearing on behalf of the plaintiff.
for best journalist
A programme has been launched to select
the best journalist who produces news stories, articles, features
and produces radio and TV programmes which help develop and nurture
peace, brotherhood and unity among the various nationalities of Sri
Lanka, a release from the Bakeer Markar Center for National Unity
According to the release, the best
contribution made in Sinhala, Tamil and English under the above
theme in the electronic and print media began from 01.01. 2005 to
31.12.2004 and would be chosen by a panel of judges based on the
recommendations of an assessment committee.
The selected three best Sinhala, Tamil
and English journalists would receive a cash award of Rs. 25,000
each and the rest would be presented with certificates.
says inflation up
The Central Bank announced Friday that
the annual average inflation rate rose to 7.6% in 2004 compared to
6.3% in 2003.
The Central Bank, which released its
annual report for 2004, also announced the Sri Lanka Consumer Price
Index also registered 7.9% in 2004.
The report said inflation, which was
low throughout 2003, began to rise in 2004 with the drought and high
fuel prices leading to high cost-push inflation which increased
money supply and fiscal expansion led to demand - pull inflation.
The Central Bank also said monetary
management became more challenging in 2004 with rise in inflation
and increased domestic credit demand.
at an all time high - Amnesty International
The level of disappearances in Sri
Lanka has hit an all time high according to Amnesty International
The AI has submitted more than 400
cases of disappearances to President Chandrika Kumaratunga and has
asked her to bring those responsible to justice, a report prepared
by the Tamil Center for Human Rights (TCHR) stated.
"Since the security forces
regained control over the Jaffna Peninsula between late 1995 and
early 1996, the total number of disappearances reported to the
organisation has reached 648 which is the highest number reported
since 1990," the report said.
AI has also documented several cases of
rape by members of the security forces adding that many women are
reluctant to give testimony about their treatment by the security
Transport Ministry accuse each other over accident
By Risidra Mendis
While family members mourn the 37
passengers killed in the ill fated bus that collided with an
intercity train last Wednesday, the Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA)
and the Transport Ministry are hurling accusations at each other for
the unfortunate accident.
The private bus plying from
Galkiriyagama to Colombo collided with the Kandy Colombo intercity
at the railway crossing at Yangal Modera in Alawwa.
The Transport Ministry plans to
introduce a new system where the driving licences of drivers at
fault will be seized and not released until the drivers have
undergone a complete training programme.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader an
official from the Transport Ministry said according to the new plan
new licences would be valid for three years. Until the three years
are over, no heavy vehicle licences would be issued, the official
The bus had seating capacity for 59.
"According to the route permit issued the private bus could
accommodate an additional 20% passengers. This would be another 12
passengers," the official said. However, at the time of the
accident, there were 90 passengers in the bus.
According to eyewitnesses, despite the
signalling that a train was close by, the bus driver on the
instructions of the conductor tried to cross the rail track in order
to overtake another bus by zig-zaggin through the closed rail gate.
"Private bus drivers are known to
race with each other to get more passengers, thereby risking the
lives of those travelling in the bus," said the transport
Meanwhile, PBOA President, Gemunu
Wijeratne, while denying accusations levelled at the PBOA, said such
accidents could be prevented if the Transport Ministry introduced a
timetable system. "I have been making numerous requests to the
government for the introduction of a timetable system. If each bus
driver were given a specific time to leave, they wouldn't need to
race with each other to get passengers. At present out of the 3,200
routes, only 32 routes have a timetable system," Wijeratne
Wijeratne added that route permits were
issued on political influence and there was no control or proper
plan in place to monitor buses plying these routes.
When asked to comment on the issuing of
route permits, the Transport Ministry official confirmed there was
political influence with regard to the issuing of route permits. The
route permit for the ill fated bus was issued in February 2004.
Wijeratne went on to say, as long as
buses are owned by individual owners, the problems would continue.
"A franchise system where a company can issue one permit per
route is the best system," he explained.
Wijeratne says while the President is
in favour of such a system, it is the transport minister who is
opposing this system.
Transport Minister Felix Perera was not
available for a comment.
press briefing: Trouble over mikes
By Easwaran Rutnam
The press briefing organised by the
Task Force For Rebuilding the Nation (TAFFREN) to detail progress in
tsunami reconstruction activities of the state was once again used
by officials to slam the media, similar to the first briefing held
just over two weeks ago.
Following a description of the
activities of TAFFREN by Chairman, Mano Tittawela and district
officers at a podium below the stage, the hosts went atop the stage
to respond to questions from the media.
Just as the question and answer session
was about to begin, Tittawela asked the media if they wanted time to
move their mikes from the lower podium to the stage.
Just as the media were about to move
their mikes on to the stage, an officer of the public relations
company of TAFFREN prevented the media from shifting the mikes on to
the stage saying there was a cable connection box at the back for
However, Tittawela went ahead with the
session even before the mikes were placed on the stage and the
electronic media interrupted him and began placing the mikes on the
An angry Tittawela said "Every
time there is a press conference the electronic media always messes
it up by moving the mikes here and there. You people should bring
your own portable boxes to connect the mikes."
Tittawela had forgotten he himself
asked the media if they wanted to shift the mikes on to the stage.
Also with a PR company handling the press conference it was their
responsibility to inform the media beforehand where to connect the
light for coal power plant
Amidst growing protests by the Catholic
Church, the government last week said it has decided to go ahead
with the proposed Norochcholai coal power plant. Treasury Secretary,
Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said the government has already accepted
Chinese assistance to continue with the project and that the
location has been confirmed as Norochcholai.
to visit Sri Lanka
Indian Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran
and Anita Saran will be in Sri Lanka on a four day official visit.
Saran will be leading an Indian delegation and consultations are
scheduled to be held with the government of Sri Lanka on May 2.
The talks are expected to review the
entire gamut of the multifaceted bilateral relations between India
and Sri Lanka. Saran will call on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse,
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadir- gamar and other Sri Lankan
dignitaries during his visit.
Saran and his delegation will visit
Trincomalee, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Anuradhapura.
By Shezna Shums
The National Building Research
Organisation (NBRO) has advised people living in the south west of
the island to be alert about sudden seismic movements, adding that
there is a possibility of landslides occurring.
"We have warned the relevant
officials as well as the people especially in the Koslanda area of
landslide risks at present ," said Scientist, NBRO, R.M.S
Speaking more about the probability of
landslides, Bandara explained that past records show that these
areas are vulnerable to landslides during the month of May with the
onset of the south west monsoon.
Some of the vulnerable areas include
the hilly land in the districts of Kegalle, Ratnapura, Galle, Matara,
and some in Haputale.
Last Thursday, the NBRO detected a
place in the Meeriga Division of the Koslanda area which also showed
signs of being prone to landslides.
"There were several cracks and
water springs. According to our findings these are trigger signals
of a big landslide and the people in these areas have been warned,
so that even if there is a landslide only the property will be
damaged," he said.
Bandara said the area has also received
rainfall of about 115 mm which he said could be
'dangerous.' "This could increase the water levels,
create more pressure and eventually result in a landslide," he
"Although there is no way to
actually predict a landslide, symptoms appearing at present that
include cracks and water springs are clear indicators of a series of
impending landslides in these areas," he warned.
in Chilaw against Anti-Conversion Bill
The Roman Catholic diocese of Chilaw is
making elaborate plans to hold a massive public rally in order to
alert Christians on the dangers inherent in the Anti-Conversion Bill
which the government intends to introduce shortly.
The Bishop of Chilaw will attend the
rally. Christians of different denominations will also take part and
will make it clear to the government that Christians are against
this bill as it infringes upon their right to the freedom of
religion, guaranteed by the constitution.
The rally will be held at 'Sudasuna' on
The bill, if passed, will lead to much
confusion in the country and spawn distrust among the different
communities in Sri Lanka, clergy from different denominations said.
Recently the Catholic Bishops
Conference in Sri Lanka issued a public statement adding that anyone
has the freedom to accept by his/her own free will, another religion
"This is a freedom that is sacred
as guaranteed by the United Nations' Charter of Fundamental Human
Rights as well as our own constitution. This freedom guarantees the
individual the right to practice and propagate one's religion,"
more amendments to joint mechanism - LTTE
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
will not accept any more amendments to the proposed joint mechanism,
according to a senior official.
LTTE Media Spokesman Daya Master said
though the LTTE agreed to the latest amended version of the joint
mechanism for the sake of implementing the relief operation soon,
other political parties have attempted to block this attempt and
added the LTTE is not prepared to accept any more suggestions.
He also said the LTTE was not going to
make any more appeals to the government regarding the joint
mechanism, adding the Tigers were not going to wait until the
government implemented the joint mechanism.
"The ball is in the government's
court and now we have no role in it. We have done our best to be
accommodative but it seems that the government is dragging its feet.
It is not our problem," Daya Master said.
According to him, the LTTE accepted the
Norwegian proposal for the joint mechanism though they had certain
reservations. He said this was done in consideration of the needs of
the Tamil people in the north east.
Daya Master said he did not understand
why the government could not deal with the Sinhala parties in the
south to implement the joint mechanism. He said the LTTE does not
understand why political parties linked the joint mechanism with
However he added until the government
makes the next move regarding the implementation of the joint
mechanism, the LTTE will not do anything.
students to take UGC, Ministry to court
Twenty six students who were unwilling
to study medicine at the Jaffna University but have been sent there
against their wishes are preparing to take the Tertiary Education
Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC) to court.
The student group comprising 14 Muslim
girls, eight Muslim boys and four Sinhalese boys say that they have
been pushed from pillar to post without any definite answer being
given to them regarding their disagreement to study medicine at the
They say that though they were eligible
to enter other universities, they were sent to the Jaffna University
by the government.
The students who are now down in
Colombo and refusing to return to Jaffna, have written more than 200
letters to politicians and education officials, but to no avail.
"The officials kept on pushing us from pillar to post. They
never tried to sort out the matter," they lamented to The
Meanwhile, Dr Mareena Riffai
representing the students body explained that the UGC only last week
stated that if these students were sent to another university, the
officials would have to find an alternative grant to provide for
their education, adding that since most of the universities have
already commenced their terms they cannot take in these students.
"The Sri Jayawardenapura
University will be starting its medical course on Tuesday, and if
the students are not taken in by then, they will have to wait till
next year to start their tertiary education as other universities
have already started their medical courses," she said.
"This will create a backlog in the
medical students enrollment because if these students are enrolled
next year, some students will be deprived of their places," she
Dr.Riffai further said that these
students who are in Colombo are facing danger.
She said they are frustrated and moving
from place to place seeking redress. "Who is going to be held
responsible if anything adverse happened to them at a time when the
country's security situation is also not good," she said.
for reinstatement of principal
The old boys and parents of the
students of Kingswood College Kandy have appealed to the government
to reinstate Kingswood Principal Ranjith Chandrasekara.
"We are of the opinion that the
treatment meted out was unfair and unjust in this so called 'just
strongly and earnestly appeal to those in authority to re-instate
Chandrasekera with honour as principal of Kingswood as he certainly
does not deserve such humiliation," they have said in a
Condemning the charges levelled against
him by the government, the old boys and parents of the students of
Kingswood have said during the past year he had to face 11 inquiries
by government officials. "At the last inquiry he was
interdicted and humiliated to the maximum, when judgment was passed
on him even before the inquiry was completed," they have said.
The statement goes on to say that
during the past four years, Chandrasekera continued to maintain the
high standards and traditions instilled in students by the founder
and some of their great principals. "His efforts have been much
appreciated by the teachers, students, parents and old boys. During
Chandrasekera's period of service of just four years, we saw great
strides being made in the development of the school. The Language
Laboratory, Information Technology Unit, the library and the
swimming pool, as well as the expansion of the college play ground
have been some of his notable achievements," the statement
joint mechanism talks at development forum
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The proposed joint mechanism between
the government and the LTTE to proceed with post tsunami
reconstruction in the north and east will not be part of the agenda
at the forthcoming Sri Lanka Development Forum.
Treasury Secretary, Dr. P. B.
Jayasundera addressing the media last week observed that the joint
mechanism would not be part of the discussions at the Development
He explained that post tsunami
reconstruction work in the north and east is currently being done
following the same procedure adopted by the government in post
conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction work.
"Reconstruction work would go
ahead as usual through the North and East Provincial Council and the
Ministry for Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction," he
Dr. Jayasundera pointed out that post
tsunami pledges and commitments have no relevance with the joint
mechanism, adding that rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the
north and east had been an ongoing project for the last three years,
following the signing of the ceasefire agreement.
He observed that the forum in its first
session will discuss pledges made by donors following the tsunami.
So far, the country has received
pledges from US$ 1.7 billion to US$ 2 billion from donors and
According to Dr. Jayasundera, out of
the pledges, US$ 750 million has been translated in to commitments,
out of which nearly US$ 500 million is expected to graduate to the
He noted that post tsunami
reconstruction of the country has been fully funded without any
Topics to be discussed at the Sri Lanka
Development Forum are post tsunami reconstruction and the 2005
Dr. Jayasundera said that the
Millennium Development Goals country report would also be presented
during the forum.
The forum will meet on May 16 and 17 in
Ave. residents complain of encroachment
Residents down Barnes Avenue, Mount
Lavinia are protesting against the illegal encroachment of crown
land down this avenue.
Residents have made several complaints
to the police and have even written to the United Nations High
Commission for Human Rights regarding this problem and are yet to
see a solution.
This encroachment has been a problem
for residents of the area for more a decade now, but nothing has
been done about this issue.
According to residents, the master plan
for Barnes Avenue had been drawn up in 1968 on specific instructions
by urban council officials which clearly demarcates the precise
boundaries of all blocks of land down Barnes Avenue.
Owners of block numbers 11, 13 and 15
are alleged to have slightly encroached onto the road after the
master plan was drawn up.
The present owner of block 11 is
accused of encroaching onto the road at least 15 to 16 feet, causing
much inconvenience to the vehicles travelling on the road.
However the owners of premises number
13 have illegally encroached from the crown roadway by about 18 to
19 ft., it is alleged. Residents claim the property with assessment
No. 15 has illegally encroached by 15 to 16 feet and has also built
a parapet wall making Barnes Avenue very narrow and impossible for
two cars to travel on the road.
academics condemn SB's sentence
Thirty academics attached to the
Peradeniya University have expressed anger at the sentence of two
years rigorous imprisonment imposed on UNP MP S.B.Dissanayake.
The academics, in a document signed
collectively, have said the imprisonment of Dissanayake has offended
their intrinsic sense of humanity, natural justice and intellectual
authenticity and constitutes a tragic violation of democratic values
and human rights in Sri Lanka.
"Sadly recent disturbing trends in
several other spheres of governance and law enforcement lead us to
view this particular outrage with even greater disquiet, as being
part of a depressing downward spiral, characterised by the callous
disregard of individual freedom, the intimidation of democratic
institutions and the progressive descent into tyranny," they
While sympathising with the jailed
Dissanayake who they say in their view is the victim of a grievous
injustice at the hands of the very institution whose sacred
prerogative it is to dispense justice, they also say that their
concern is more about principles than about personalities.
"Many of the signatories to this
protest do not know Dissanayake personally and have never met him.
Moreover how people might esteem him as an individual whether he is
admired or disliked is of no interest to us. Neither are his
political views or public reputation of any concern to us here. It
is sufficient that a fellow citizen languishes in jail, having
received a vicious and unrealistic sentence that might have been
(and might yet be) the unhappy fate of any free citizen of this
country including any one of us," they said.
They have said that the judgment of the
divisional bench, which passed this sentence, runs contrary to
modern, enlightened and liberal judicial attitudes that underlie
very great restraint and tolerance in the interpretation and
application of offences involving 'contempt of court' in many
countries in this day and age.
"They include the celebrated
Granada case in England where leading politicians and newspaper
editors who denounced Lord Denning as 'an ass' over a controversial
judgment received no punishment whatsoever, and other cases where
the presumed insult to the judiciary was far more telling than that
which committed Disssanayake to do hard labour in jail for two
years," the statement said.
"The enlightened principles
underlying such tolerance were well stated in the Manesar
Declaration of December 2004 in Haryana India to which Sri Lanka has
subscribed, according to which 'judges should exercise extreme
caution in the grant of restrain orders in contempt cases where this
could have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression'.
"By contrast, the ferocious penal
retribution to which the divisional bench has resorted in the Sri
Lankan case is in our view a gross travesty of justice which brings
an already beleaguered judiciary into even greater disrepute.
"Accordingly, we firmly endorse
the eight points with which a distinguished law professor has
lucidly summarised the shortcomings of the judgments of the Supreme
Court in the Dissanayake case from a legal perspective: They are (a)
Misconceived in terms of the application of legal principle suitable
for a modern democratic society, (b) indicative of a profound
distortion of policy perspectives and priorities, (c) inconsistent
with trends reflected in contemporary legislation, (d) indirect
conflict with major currents of judicial authority throughout the
democratic world, (e) out of line with the modern literature on the
subject, (f)directly contrary to intuitive perceptions of justice
and equity,(g) incompatible with core values which underpin the
administration of criminal justice and (h) deeply flawed in respect
of disproportionality of the sentence imposed even on the
(erroneous) assumption that liability has been established,"
the statement added.
issues to the fore at May Day rallies
By Shezna Shums and Risidra
As the whole world marks Workers' Day
that falls today, trade unions representing the workforce of the
country roundly condemned the UPFA government for not making any
attempt to contain the soaring cost of living.
They blamed the government for not
finding suitable jobs for graduates and further charged that the
government has done little to provide them with any relief.
Meanwhile, tsunami victims complained
that four months after the tsunami struck Sri Lanka, the government
has failed 'miserably' to meet their immediate demands.
A Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) source
said the failure of the government to provide people with sufficient
resources has led to people choosing to steal and get involved in
anti social activities.
Encouraging the masses to follow the
principles of Buddhism, the JHU said the correct principles and
values of Buddhism as preached by Lord Buddha should be followed by
According to the JHU, the people's sole
aim is to earn money through improper ways. This has led to
corruption, bribery, fraud and dishonesty among the people in the
country. The corrupt elements have to be stopped if the country is
to go forward, the JHU said.
UNP Organiser, Tilak Karunaratne
charged that the government's performance so far has been
'absolutely' dismal. He said the government has failed to deliver
the goods, especially to the tsunami victims. He charged that the
government has not made any effort to control the cost of living and
look into the plight of the tsunami affected people.
He said the UNP would focus on these
two important issues in its May Day activities.
He explained that there are many
difficulties faced by the tsunami affected people as there is an
undue delay in allocating land due to red tape. He said even the
NGOs are unable to give the victims what they require because of
"The private sector does not want
to give money to the government, but prefer to carry out the
rehabilitation and reconstruction work themselves. However the
government says that they will not give land to private people. This
causes a block in the work that could be done," he pointed put.
He said the other issue that the UNP
would be focusing on would be the plight of farmers in the North
Central and Eastern Provinces.
"Having a bumper harvest this
time, the farmers have had excess paddy. But to their utter dismay
the government says it does not have enough money to buy all of it.
But we have heard that cronies and political supporters are able to
help a selected set of farmers. This is unfair," said
Also the Secretary General, National
Workers Congress, A. Lodwick stated that in collaboration with the
All Ceylon Federation of Free Trade Unions and its affiliated
secretariats and unions, Workers' Day would be commemorated at
The theme for today is 'Workers' Rights
and Unity of the Working Class Movement.'
People from several sectors will gather
for the event including people from the Free Trade Zones, he said.
Ceylon Workers' Congress Nuwara Eliya
District MP, V.Puthrasigamany said his congress would focus on the
workers being denied access to jobs.
He said the need for the estate
community is to have access to all employment in the private and
public sectors in the country.
He also said that they want the
government to at least set up micro-economic development centers.
"There are about 450 groups scattered around the estates, with
such micro-development centers. The estate worker community will
have a chance of learning a skill, finding employment or even be
self employed," he added.
The General Secretary, Ceylon
Mercantile Industrial and General Workers' Union, Bala Tampoe said
the one issue that his party would highlight is about bringing about
law and order within parliament.
The All Ceylon Sub Post Masters'
Union's (ACSPMU) main issue to be addressed at the May Day Rally is
to ensure all casual government employees with over six to seven
years of work experience are made permanent.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader,
President, ACSPMU, Padmakeerthi Herath said during the UNP regime
all employees who had completed six months in the government sector
were made permanent.
According to Herath, the present
government is yet to make employees permanent. "There are 195
employees in the ACSPMU, some of whom have completed uninterrupted
government service for over six to seven years but are still on the
casual employment cadre.
Out of the 195 ACSPMU employees, 90%
are women. We made a request to the minister of public
administration and the minister said he would look into the matter
but nothing has been done," Herath said.