Tharuna Aruna graduates taken on a costly ride?

By Thimali Ranaweera
Unemployed graduates who underwent employment training under the now suspended Tharuna Aruna programme are urging the government to restore the program and find them employment in the government sector and not temporary training periods in the private sector.
Over 2000 graduate trainees launched a satyagraha last week protesting against the suspension of the program opposite the Tharuna Aruna Centres island wide, convenor of the Unemployed Graduates Union Sujith Kuruwita said.
He said they expect the government to let them complete the training and to provide them with permanent jobs. After failing to receive a positive response from the government they launched a picket campaign in front of the Skills Development ministry last Monday. As a result the minister of Skills Development Sripathi Sooriyarachchi has agreed to intervene in the matter and hand over a letter to the Finance Ministry seeking its intervention on this issue. “We are going to meet the deputy finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya on Wednesday. After that we will be making a decision on the future course of action” , Kuruwita said.
 The government set up 33 Tharuna Aruna centres under the Skills Development Ministry to train unemployed graduates for jobs under the “Tharuna Aruna” project countrywide, convenor of the Association of Unemployed Graduates, Sujith Kuruwita said. 
He charged that the Mahinda Chinthana had pledged to provide 10,000 permanent jobs to graduates this year. “But after failing to honour its promise the government later pledged to provide permanent jobs after three months of practical training.


CEB work continue while some fall sick

Although a section of the CEB employees have resorted to a sick note campaign urging a pay hike, Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne said that the majority of the workers have reported to work and are happy with the salary package offered by the government.
CEB employees belonging to the Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya launched a sick note campaign last Friday. They were demanding that the minor staff basic salary should be increased at least by Rs.5000.
Secretary of the Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya, Ranjan Jayalal said that Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratna had agreed to increase the salary by 30 percent and to add the interim allowance of Rs.1200 to the salary at a meeting held on Thursday at the ministry. “We cannot be satisfied with that. Because it will not reach the Rs.5000 increase we demand for minor staff,” he said.
He said that if the minister does not address the issue properly they would be compelled to go for a 24 hour work stoppage. “If the power supply is interrupted for 24 hours, it would take at least another 72 hours to restore it, leading to a crisis situation,” he said.
However Minister John Seneviratna said a salary committee had recommended a salary increase by 30 percent. “But the unions were still agitating for more. So after discussing with the committee we decided to increase it by 33 and 1/3 percent and add the cost of living allowance of Rs. 1200 to the pay which will eventually reach the increase of Rs. 5000 demanded for the minor staff. That is the maximum possible salary we can pay due to the financial crisis in the CEB.”
He said that the majority of the workers reported for work on Friday and the board was able to maintain the services without any disruption. (TR)


Lankans held in Madrid quizzed

By Rukshana Rizwie
Three Sri Lankans have been detained in Madrid for interrogation after Spanish immigration authorities arrested a number of men on people-smuggling out of 160 people who arrived on boats to the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife on September 14.
“A team of consular officers of the embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris met with the group of Sri Lankans detained by Spanish authorities. So far we do know that eight of the eleven Sri Lankans have been moved from where they were detained in the Canary Island to Madrid from where they will be repatriated.
And as for the other three, we are being told that they are held for interrogation to gather some vital clues on the case of people-smuggling.” said Abdul Latif Mohammed Lafir, the director of Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


New laws to check police excesses

By S.J.Anthony Fernando
The National Police Commission will gazette a new set of regulations and guidelines shortly to give the commission more teeth and powers in carrying out speedy and independent investigations into public complaints made against the police service and individual police officers.
Chairman of the National Police Commission Neville Piyadigama, told The Nation that the Commission had decided on this course to strengthen itself in view of the large number of complaints received from the public against police personnel some of which are of a very serious nature.


Asantha at CPC helm

CPC chairman Jaliya Medagama has resigned from his post and he had been replaced by former Sri Lankan cricketer Asantha De Mel.
Asantha de Mel is to assume office with effect from Monday October 2.
Speaking to The Nation, the former chairman, Jaliya Medagama said his resignation was over several reasons including interference of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“I am a person who doesn’t like when there is unnecessary interference on my work. I have so far done a good job to the best of my ability. There was some interference from the ministry which I don’t approve at all, and some decisions that hampered the working of the CPC. So under these circumstances I thought that it is high time that I should resign,” Medagama said.


Anyone not toeing party line free to leave: Lalkantha

By Anurangi Singh
The relinquishing of all party responsibilities by JVP parliamentarian, politburo member and central committee member Nandana Gunathilaka has not made any drastic effect on the party, JVP MP K.D.Lalkantha, said yesterday.
Speaking to The Nation, he said that JVP being a democratic party have had its members changing allegiance at their discretion from time to time.
“We have had our former members who have played an active role in the party leaving. In 1982 the secretary of the party left the party as well. We are a democratic party, so we respect what is wanted by the majority. If anyone cannot comply with that they can leave if they wish to do so,” Lalkantha said.
He also said that there is no point on speaking on a person who has already left the party.
Also that Nandana Gunathilaka has made some comments to the media and that he had left out some core issues. “It’s best if Nandana Gunathilaka is questioned on these issues rather than seeking the party’s comment”, he said.
Nandana Gunatilleka relinquishing his responsibilities in the JVP has said that he was giving up his positions in the party as the party leadership had not heeded most of his proposals to reform the JVP. There was speculation that Gunatilleka would join the SLFP shortly.