JVP, Govt. trade corruption charges
The battle between the government
and the JVP intensified last week
with ministers and senior JVP
members trading corruption charges
and threatening to continue the
fight to a finish.
began when JVP Polonnaruwa District
Parliamentarian S.K. Subasinghe accused
Agriculture Minister Maithripala Sirisena
and his brother of manipulating the price of
rice in the market. He accused the Sirisena
family of monopolising the rice market.
Sirisena responded last week by accusing
Subasinghe of collecting money from his
businessmen brothers and accused the latter
of also accepting bribes.
made these accusations at a public meeting
said that Subasinghe was in the habit of
collecting money from his brothers and that
the mud slinging campaign against him
started when one of his brothers had refused
to pay a sum of money requested by the JVP
said the JVPer had requested for a donation
of dhal from Deputy Minister Siripala
Gamlath, who is also being accused by the
Marxists of manipulating the rice market.
to Sirisena, Gamlath had asked Subasinghe to
collect the dhal from a trader in
Polonnaruwa and the JVP member had then
taken five gunny bags (miti pahak).
challenged the JVP to file a case against
him if the charges were false.
decides to attack us politically they would
do well to remember that we too would
retaliate," Sirisena said in Polonnaruwa.
JVP Politburo Member and Parliamentarian K.D.
Lalkantha addressing a party rally in
Anuradhapura last Monday hit back stating
the JVP was ready for a face-to-face
confrontation with the Minister who had
accused Subasinghe of collecting money from
asked us to come for a face to face
confrontation. We are ready. Who is saying
this? It is that fellow, Bambuwa, who has
said this," Lalkantha said.
further said that they did not take notice
of what some scum (haalparuwa) had to say.
said that when corruption within the
government was being highlighted, their
response has been to attack the messenger.
battle intensifying, JVP politburo member
and Parliamentarian, Anura Kumara
Dissanayake last Tuesday addressing a media
briefing in Colombo accused the Agriculture
Minister of trying to cover up losses
incurred by the Fertiliser Corporation by
sacking the chairman.
Dissanayake said that apart from sacking the
chairman, there were irregularities that
have cost the institute millions of rupees.
that the JVP had accepted the challenge to
come for a confrontation and this was the
JVP Parliamentarian, Premasiri Manage opened
another flank Friday, accusing Special
Projects Minister, Mahinda Wijesekera and
his wife of cheating the government by not
making the stipulated payments when engaging
in a business endeavour.
said that Wijesekera's wife holds 50% of
Bron Bridge Fisheries Private Limited and so
far the company had not paid the stipulated
25% of each harvest to the Fisheries
back, Minister Wijesekera accused Manage of
earning his living by breaking into banks,
giving contracts to kill people and lying to
observed that although the fish caught by
Bron Bridge Fisheries Private Limited have
to be off loaded in Modera, they are
currently being off loaded in Galle, which
was against the law.
member also said that since Bron Bridge
Fisheries Private Limited was off loading
their harvest in Galle, the local fishermen
have been adversely affected since their
fish was not being purchased by vendors.
charged that the only intention of
Wijesekara and his wife was to get the local
fishermen out of the market and create a
to the allegation, Wijesekera said that the
company had BoI approval and that his wife
indeed held 50% of the shares of Bron Bridge
Fisheries Private Limited.
he said that he was not cheating the
explained that the fish caught by Bron
Bridge Fisheries Private Limited were not
local fish as they are caught from
international waters and was mainly for the
to Wijesekera, the BoI agreement has
permitted the company to off load its
harvest in Galle. He also said that the
company paid Rs.10 lakhs as VAT charges and
the profit from exporting the fish is also
paid back to the government.
Bus bomb in
Lavinia injures 18
By Amantha Perera and Thushara Dasanayaka
bystanders were injured when a powerful
parcel bomb ripped apart an empty passenger
bus in Mount Lavinia yesterday morning.
Vigilant commuters prevented high deaths and casualties in
the fifth attack targeting a bus since
January 16, when the bomb exploded around
10.55 am in the rear section of the bus which had been emptied of
Attentive passengers had earlier alerted the conductor of
the bus of an unattended bag, kept under a
seat on the driver’s side of the bus near
the rear. It was traveling from Moratuwa to
Colombo when the discovery was made.
“Once we realised that there was a bag and no owner, I
asked the driver to stop, and told everybody
to get off,” Ajith Peiris who was a
traveling in the bus said. “We asked people
to move away from the parked bus and called
911 also,” Peiris who works in the Moratuwa
municipal council said.
“The presence of the parcel was realised
just before the Mount Lavinia Junction near
the colour lights. The conductor was in
front and a passenger told him,” Mervin
Silva another passenger said. The conductor
had thereafter inquired whether the mystery
bag belonged to anyone but none of the
passengers had claimed the bag. The female
passenger who had first noticed the bag had
then proceeded to get off. “The driver took
the bus to the bus-stand at the junction and
parked it just after the stand,” Silva
said. He said that the explosion took place
less than 10 minutes after the bus was
stopped and while the driver and the
conductor waited for the Police to arrive.
The bomb had been inside a black briefcase like bag on the
third seat from the rear according to the
conductor of the bus Samptah Silva and it
had been placed under the seat. The location
of the explosion, just above the rear wheels
corresponded with the location of the bag he
The bus bearing registration number WP NT-5665 had caught
fire soon after the explosion. Damages to
the vehicle were far greater than in the
Dambulla blast and it had been reduced to a
charred tin hulk. The rear of the bus, which
took the bulk of the blast, was ripped open
with metal sheeting on the roof pointing
skywards. Parts of the roof had hit the
electricity wires overhead and the area
suffered a power interruption soon after the
blast. Bystanders recovered the rear number
plate of the bus from about 20 meters away
after the blast.
Most of the injured were receiving treatment for shock. Ten
males and seven females were injured in the
attack along with an eighteen-month-old
infant who was treated for shock at the
Windows in buildings near the blast had been shattered and
a motorcycle near the bus too had been
The government blamed the attack on the
Tigers and said that it was another attempt
at targeting civilians. “However, the
terrorists’ beastly intention to commit
carnage against civilians has been foiled
due to the vigilance of the civilians
themselves,” the Defence Ministry said.
ICG blames LTTE
for resumption of fighting
By Amantha Perera
should take the blame for the resumption of
fighting with the government forces that has
led to hundreds being killed within the
first two months of this year, the
International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a
report last week.
also faulted President Mahinda Rajapakse for
allowing the extremist parties to dominate
the blame for the resumption in violence
lies with the LTTE; its ceasefire violations
and abuses of the population under its
control pushed the government towards war,"
ICG said in a report titled Sri Lanka's
Return To War: Limiting The Damage.
Brussels based ICG said that the Tiger
strategy to provoke the government into
retaliatory strikes may have worked too well
for their own good.
strategy was to shore up internal support by
provoking a Sinhala nationalist reaction; it
worked, although the insurgents may come to
regret their approach."
also said that President Mahinda Rajapakse
had allowed nationalists parties to dominate
his policies. "President Mahinda Rajapakse
has also overplayed his hand. Relying on
support from Sinhala extremists, he has let
them set an agenda that allows only for a
said that donors and the international
community should move beyond limiting their
criticism to statements. "Governments and
multilateral organisations that have
traditionally supported Sri Lanka should
move beyond expressions of displeasure at
the abrogation of the ceasefire agreement."
also warned that the current phase of the
war was the worse ever with a brutal counter
insurgency and the total militarisation of
areas under Tiger control - "The current
conflict is worse than what preceded the
2002 ceasefire. The government's
counter-insurgency campaign is more brutal
and indiscriminate, the terror and criminal
activities of its Tamil proxy forces more
extensive and blatant."
also said, "The Tigers have fully
militarised life in areas under their
control and returned to brutal attacks on
Sinhalese civilians, intent on provoking
even worse retaliation."
added that the 2002 ceasefire had run its
course and recommended a fresh approach to
negotiations and possible dialogue. It said
that, "The Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Donors
Conference (Norway, Japan, the US and the EU)
no longer have, as such, a clear peacemaking
role; and there needs to be deepened
cooperation between India, the EU and the
US, with the goal of eventually developing a
more politically powerful contact group."
also sought international cooperation to
close down the LTTE international financial
network and to gather evidence for possible
prosecution of Karuna in the UK.
called for target sanctions against the
Tigers and the TMVP for continued child
PC poll in east in
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
government will hold a separate provincial
council election to elect members to a newly
established Eastern Provincial Council by
August, Local Government and Provincial
Councils Minister, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon
The Sunday Leader that holding the
Batticaloa local election was only a
precursor to 'test the waters' and promised
to make all arrangements to hold a 'free' PC
poll by August. "That will be a historic
moment. It will also complete a process that
we have just begun.
with the liberation of the east. Next comes
the election process. It will also be the
first time in 21 years that a separate PC
would be created in the east. It will be a
separate entity that reflects the ethnic
balance of the unique province," he said.
Tennakoon added that all these years the
northeast were amalgamated under the 13th
Amendment and was considered a single
entity, much against the wishes of the
Sinhalese and Muslims. "The required
referendum was never held in 21 years and
now the Supreme Court has decided to
separate the two provinces," he added.
Minister further explained that fruits of
economic development, long denied to the
people of the east since war broke out would
now become possible when power is devolved
to the province.
A-321 due to default
Mihin Lanka has lost one of its
aircraft due to non-payment of the
lost an A-321 aircraft taken on lease from
Best Air, Turkey as the owners had taken
back the aircraft for non-payment of the
lease. Mihin Lanka leased the aircraft
registered under I-TUB in Turkey on March
it is also learnt that the A-320 aircraft
leased out by Mihin from Bulgaria registered
under Z-BHB, is also to be taken back by its
owners in April for the non-payment of dues.
sector against electricity hike
By Shezna Shums
business community has warned of the adverse
impact the proposed high electricity tariffs
would have on the country's export and local
National Chamber of Commerce, D. Easwaran
told The Sunday Leader that the increasing
cost of electricity will affect the exports
Sri Lanka being one of the
leading exporters of tea bags will see its
production costs go up steeply because the
increase in electricity rates will increase
the costs of tea processing, packing,
printing and also packaging.
"If it is
a 40% increase in electricity rates then the
price of everything that depends on power
will also increase in cost by that margin,"
explained Easwaran. The increase in
electricity prices would have an impact on
exports such as garments, tea and other
items heavily dependent on electricity, he
turn will make Sri Lankan tea more expensive
and thus be in a difficult position in the
world market," Easwaran added.
explained that given the present high prices
of materials, an increase in electricity
costs would make local exports even more
is number one when it come to the exporting
of tea bags, and this position will be
vulnerable if production costs increase
steeply," said Easwaran.
Federation of Chambers of Commerce and
Industry, Nawaz Rajabdeen said that people
were finding it difficult to bear even the
present electricity rates.
electricity is to be increased again, this
will cause a series of increases and will
affect the cost of almost everything. The
government needs to find a solution or
appoint experts to find a solution to
provide cheaper electricity," he said.
electricity prices are to be increased, Sri
Lankans may become the highest paying
electricity users in the Asian region,"
increase in electricity tariffs will affect
a cross section of people as even the prices
of food will increase in price.
urged the government to find a solution to
bring the cost of electricity down, or to
bring in experts from some of the
neighbouring countries to help find ways of
reducing the cost of electricity.
that the Ceylon Electricity Board should
bring down experts to help revamp the
institution as well as to help find a
solution to reduce the increasing cost of
electricity in the country.
Gas going up again
By Nirmala Kannangara
the decline in world oil prices, domestic
gas prices are to be increased once again in
March, The Sunday Leader learns.
Director, Laugfs Holdings Limited, Thilak de
Silva told The Sunday Leader that although
the global oil prices have been on the
decline, another price hike in domestic gas
cylinders was inevitable.
the fuel prices in the world market is
declining since the end of January, Laugfs
made an application to the Consumer Affairs
Authority (CAA) requesting for another price
hike from March according to the pricing
formula. The gas price revision takes place
once in two months and the January price
revision was based on the October and
November fuel prices in the world market,"
de Silva said.
to de Silva, although the fuel prices
started declining since end January the
price of a domestic gas cylinder still has
to be increased in line with the December
and January prices in the world market.
December and January the prices of fuel
reached its peak and hence our request for
another price increase. The CAA would give
their approval during the course of this
week," de Silva further stated.
de Silva said that the impending price hikes
would be much lesser than that of the
January price revision.
Director Finance, Shell Gas Company, Rimoe
Saldin told The Sunday Leader that Shell Gas
too has made an application to the CAA
according to the pricing formula but
declined to comment on the decision.
Shell does not know the CAA decision I am
not in a position to comment on domestic gas
prices. I could comment by the end of this
week, once we hear from CAA," added Saldin.
Appeal for Help
Naleen Jayawickrama is in need of
financial assistance to undergo an
operation for a kidney transplant.
He had a kidney transplant six years
ago and since then he is being
undergoing medical treatment from
doctors in India. After the surgery
he was in good health for three
years and the discovery of the
rejection of the transplanted kidney
was diagnosed in the year 2004.
not have adequate savings nor is he able to
take a large enough loan to prepare for the
unexpected second kidney transplantation
which has now become imminent and should be
done within a month according to doctors'
advice in order to avoid any further health
complications. He has just started the
dialysis. He has received the promise of a
kidney by a generous donor.
important step next is to collect a sum of
Rs 2 million which is the cost of a kidney
re-plantation in India including the cost of
the surgery, air travel, medical and
hospital, and accommodation expenses in
Chennai for a month. He may get around Rs.
300,000 and Rs.100,000 from the President's
Fund of Sri Lanka and ETF Board,
wish to help can contact him on +94
(0)714-022 9449 (mobile), +94 (0)112716017
(residence) or email him on
address: 33/1, Dhammadhara Road, Ratmalana,
Escalation of violence could effect half a
million people in 2008 - UN
By Amantha Perera
escalation of attacks and clashes between
government forces and the Tigers could
effect as much as half a million people
within this year, the latest assessment
report prepared by the UN country team in
document calls for a preparedness level for
up to 500,000 conflict-affected individuals
comprising IDPs, returnees and
economically-affected persons," the Common
Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) report
compiled by the Inter Agency Standing
Committee (IASC) country team and released
on February 22 said.
said that the UN and other agencies require
an additional US$ 145 million for projects
proposed in consultation with the
government. "The funding requirements for
105 projects (proposed by 25
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 12 UN
agencies, and the International Organisation
for Migration [IOM]) total US$ 175.4
million, out of which $29.2 million has
already been committed." A fortnight back
the World Food Programme said that it
required US$ 44 million to keep its
Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO)
that provides food to close to a million in
the north east functioning without a
breakdown. The CHAP report said that
fighting in 2007 had displaced 308,000 and
said that there were fears of similar
displacements this year.
is hoped that a political settlement can be
found to end the conflict in the coming
months, the CHAP is based on the planning
assumption that there will be significant
returns during 2008, alongside displacements
similar in scale to those in 2007," it said.
latter part of 2007, as the conflict
affected more of Sri Lanka's northern
districts, the risks increased for IDPs and
other conflict-affected groups in those
areas. The CHAP is based on the assumption
that as the Government acts on its stated
intention to disarm the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the conflict in Sri
Lanka will continue and intensify, and even
if it were to slow down or end during the
year, there would remain very significant
humanitarian needs to be met in the areas of
conflict," the report added.
assistance includes assistance for displaced
and return communities in the areas of
protection, shelter, food, water and
environmental sanitation, food aid,
nutrition, health, education, food security
(including agriculture and fisheries),
economic recovery and infrastructure, and
logistics. There are over 170,000 IDPs,
displaced after January 2006 in the north
east of the country, while an additional
83,000 displaced before December 2005 also
remain in Jaffna.