The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 3

The Nation Sunday, November 9, 2014 Page 3
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National Movement for Social Justice
(MMSJ) Head Ven Maduluwawe Sobhitha
Therarubbishedreports that themovement
had already come to an agreement with a
number of political parties and organiza-
tions to field a common candidate for the
next Presidential election. Speaking to
The
Nation
, Ven. Sobhitha Thera said that the
NMSJ was trying to create a common plat-
form which will accommodate everyone in
their search for a common candidate.
The NMSJ Head said the common pur-
pose they are working for is to abolish the
Executive Presidential system and have
a meaningful democratic administration
in the country. “We have had discussions
with almost all the political parties regard-
ing our proposals. The abolishment of the
Executive Presidency, Fully implementa-
tion of the 17th amendment to the Consti-
tution and changing the electoral system
are main priorities and our effort is to have
a common front to achieve those targets”,
Ven Sobhitha Thera said.
“To speak about a common candidate,
the Government has to announce a presi-
dential election. We are considering the
ways and means to reach our targets and
we have time”, Ven. Thera added. Admit-
ting the fact, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU)
National Organiser and Western Provin-
cial Council Member Nishantha Sri War-
nasinghe said that the JHU also had met
the NMSJ and discussed the possibilities
of having a common program to achieve
the targets, something which all the par-
ties insist on at present.
The JHU National Organiser also add-
ed that they visited Sobhitha Thera on
an invitation and identifying a common
candidate for the presidential election is
a far away task to attend. “We also have
a set of proposals on the administration
of the country and we have handed over
those proposals to the government. We
will be waiting for at least a seven days
expecting a reply from them and it is only
then that we can make a decision over the
next presidential election”, Warnasinghe
added.
He also said that their decision could
support a common opposition candidate,
have a third common candidate or boycott
the election. “The decision depends on the
feedback we are to receive from the govern-
ment. He also denied participating at a due
press conference tomorrow by the NMSJ
to announce fielding a common candidate.
He further added that JHU won’t support a
candidate from a political party unless he
or she is completely free from politics.
Trade union leader Saman Rathnapriya
said that the NMSJ will officially inform
the public tomorrow how they are going
to win their proposals which they have
made for the country. He also added that
all the parties and organizations will join
together tomorrow to make an announce-
ment over fielding a candidate against
the Freedom Alliance candidate.
Ven. Sobhitha Thera also added that
the government still has time to agree to
their proposals or at least to announce its
stand over the public interest issues such
as Executive presidency, electoral system
etc.
The rulingUPFAhas alreadyannounced
that they will go for an early presidential
election and President Mahinda Rajapak-
sa will be the candidate again. They also
said that the official announcement will
be made just after November 19.
The NMSJ meeting, which took place at
the Sri Naga Vihara premises on Friday,
was attended by JHU MP Ven Athuraliye
Rathana
Thera,
former
President
Chandrika Bandaranaike, UNP leadership
Council Chairman MP Karu Jayasuriya,
former President of FUTA Dr Nirmal
Ranjith Dewasiri, JHU National Organiser
Nishantha sri Warnasinghe, National
Unity Front leader Asath Salley, Maubima
Janatha Party leader Hemakumara
Nanayakkara, Nawa Sihala Urumaya
leader Sarath Manamendra, trade unionist
Saman Rathnapriya and several others.
Sobitha Thera plans
‘common platform’
People’s Liberation Front (JVP)
pooh-poohed the news items that
they will join in a common platform
to select a common candidate at the
Presidential election. Democratic
National AllianceMP Sunil Handun-
neththi speaking to The Nation said
they had no given any green light to
join such a “political program” with
any political party or an organiza-
tion.
“The whole country knows that
we are in a completely different
move on a possible presidential elec-
tion. How can someone call upon us
to discuss about a common opposi-
tion candidate? I do not know how
they make statements to the media.”
MP Handunneththi said when he
was questioned about joining a press
conference tomorrow to announce
about a common candidate.
The Parliamentarian further said
that the JVP had filed a motion in
the Supreme Court on Friday re-
questing the Court to hold the hear-
ing regarding the request by Presi-
dent Mahinda Rajapaksa asking for
a determination from the Supreme
Court whether he could contest for a
third term and whether a presiden-
tial election could be called before
his second term ends and requesting
an opportunity to the party to make
submissions.
JVP also met the Elections Com-
missioner Mahinda Deshapriya on
October 23 and requested him not to
allow the incumbent president hold-
ing a snap poll when two years ahead
of his second term and had also de-
scribed it as “unconstitutional.”
However, the main Opposition
United National party said that they
would engage in talks with the Na-
tional Movement for Social Justice
and would also represent the Mon-
day press conference by the party.
Party spokesman Gayantha Ka-
runathilake said that they had given
consent for a ‘common program’.
However, he admitted that the
party’s Working Committee has not
madeanydecisionoverapresidential
candidate from the party. “It will be
decided by the WC, when the time
comes. Till then, we look alternatives
and we engage in talks,” he added.
However, when contacted by
The
Nation
, UNP Chairman MP Kabir
Hashim showed ignorance stating,
‘anything happens in Colombo’ and
wanted us to contact the General
Secretary of the party. Our efforts
to contact General Secretary Tissa
Attanayake proved futile yesterday.
JVP not party to common candidate
program - Handunneththi
Chamara Sumanapala
Minister of Technology, Research
and Atomic Energy Patali Champika
Ranawaka said that the Norochcho-
lai Coal Power Plant issue has be-
come a confusing affair in recent
times. He also stated that the issue
has started from the very beginning
itself. He made these comments at
an event organized by the Jatika
Vidvath Sabhawa recently.
The Minister said that in the first
instance when tenders were called
to procure coal, it was said that
Holcim Company gave the most fa-
vorable prices. However, the price
mechanism was changed and the
tender was awarded to another
company named Nobel Resources.
It was said that this company was
on the third place under the new
calculation while a different com-
pany, Coal of Africa, headed in the
tender list.
This discrepancy was revealed
in 2012 when tenders were called
for the second time. Accordingly,
Nobel Resources Company offered
to supply one ton of coal for US $
126. However, at the time, the com-
pany was supplying coal for US $
142. Meanwhile the lowest tender
offered to supply one ton of coal for
just US $ 108.1 only. This showed
how much profit Nobel Resources
was accruing at the expense of the
Sri Lankan public.
The Minister also added that
there were many other technical
inadequacies at the power plant
including the lesser capacity of the
grid line which does not allow the
transmission of 900 MW of elec-
tricity, which is said to be the total
capacity of the power plant, to the
main grid. Meanwhile, each day
without production of electricity
from Norochcholai costs millions of
rupees to the public.
Minister Ranawaka also added
that there was a media campaign
by certain parties to discredit him,
implying that he was responsible
for the coal mafia and other miscon-
ducts. He also added that one ob-
jective could be to force the Jathika
Hela Urumaya to withdraw the set
of proposals put forward to the gov-
ernment. However, he stressed that
he will not take much note of these
campaigns and will stand by for the
implementation of proposals put for-
ward to the government.
Sri Lanka’s first ever ‘Science Walk’ organized by the Ministry of Technology and Research was held in Colombo
yesterday. Around 1500 persons includingministry officials, armed forces personnel, scientists, as well as university
and school students took part
Pic by Chandana Wijesinghe
Champika gives further details on ‘coal mafia’
Continued from page 1
ScienceWalk 2014
Sajith Opts...
Meanwhile, Premadasa’s move to
disclose the name of party leader Ra-
nil Wickremesinghe as the presiden-
tial candidate of the party has irked
members of the Working Committee.
Speaking to
‘The Nation’
, a member of
the committee said Premadasa’s state-
ment has come as a surprise to many
members of the UNP WC as one needs
approval from the Working Committee
before announcing the name of the
presidential candidate.
“Although there were speculations
from the outset, the UNP has not yet
made any official announcement on the
name of the party’s presidential candi-
date. No official of the party is allowed
to jump the gun and disclose the name
of the presidential candidate without
approval,” he asserted.
The WC member added that the
statements Premadasa has made on
the presidential election are likely to
boomerang on him at internal strategy
meetings of the party. Although
‘The
Nation’
attempted to contact UNP
Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa in this
regard, our efforts were futile.
According to party sources, the UNP
is discussing two common candidate
options. One is its Leadership Council
Chairman Karu Jayasuriya and the oth-
er is former President and former leader
of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Chan-
drika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.
“At this point, Jayasuriya is in a bet-
ter position to become the UNP-backed
common candidate of the opposition
as most of the Parliamentarians view
CBK’s candidature under the UNP tick-
et with at least a modicum of suspicion.
The party will however hold discussions
with the former President to get her
support for the candidate fielded by the
main opposition party,” a UNP Parlia-
mentarian said on Saturday.
Salgado was responding to queries
arising from a letter written to President
Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chief Minister,
Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran,
urging the two to investigate a fraud impli-
cating the Chief Secretary who is alleged
to have defrauded the Council of ‘millions
of rupees allocated to a Bank-funded proj-
ect titled NELSIP’.
Regulations require relevant officials to
investigate thoroughly suspected irregu-
larities in projects funded by the Bank.
GOSL protests...
In a strongly worded response to
comments made by the High Com-
missioner, Sri Lanka’s Permanent
Representative to the UN in Geneva,
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha ac-
cused Zeid of choosing to ‘cast asper-
sions and denigrate a democratically
elected Government’.
The letter was sent in response to a
statement released on Friday (Novem-
ber 8) by the Office of the High Com-
missioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
titled ‘Zeid condemns persistent dis-
information designed to discredit UN
Investigation on Sri Lanka.’
Ambassador Aryasinha in his let-
ter had pointed out that “in fact, some
countries have, on extremely cogent
grounds, rejected mandates of the
Council previously in much stronger
ways, and have not been censured in
the manner as in this instance.”
“This undoubtedly confirms the dou-
ble standards being applied. This type
of action on your part would regretta-
bly constrain constructive engagement
which the Government of Sri Lanka
has consistently sought to pursue,”
Ambassador Aryasinha observed.
According to the ambassador, the
OHCHR has been inept in compre-
hending for reasons best known to
it that the thrust of the concerns ex-
pressed by the Government of Sri
Lanka related to the flawed procedure
of the OHCHR Investigation on Sri
Lanka (OISL).
Ambassador Aryasinha also alluded
to revelations made by a non-reha-
bilitated LTTE cadre who was arrested
for allegedly being in possession blank
signed forms that would be fraudulent-
ly filled and submitted to the OISL.
“These revelations included him
being employed to collect signatures
of persons affected by the conflict on
blank forms by deceiving them into
believing that they would be granted
monetary compensation by the UN.
The forms were to then be used to
submit false and fabricated informa-
tion to the OISL. This information was
shared by the Government in order to
caution the interlocutors on attempts
being made at manipulating the inves-
tigation process,” the letter explained.
See full statements on Page 6
Govt. authorities...
However, Major General Perera said
after consultation with government au-
thorities, a decision was eventually
taken to observe the process for an-
other day or so to see if search teams
could find any more bodies that were
trapped under the rubble. A final deci-
sion on the search operation would be
taken thereafter, he added.
Minister of Disaster Management
Mahinda Amaraweera visited the
Meeriyabedda area yesterday to ob-
serve the relief measures for the dis-
placed and to observe the progress of
the search operation.
The search operation, which began
soon after the deadly October 29 land-
slide, entered its 11th day yesterday.
Over 800 security forces personnel
were engaged in the search opera-
tion. Search teams had recovered
the remains of 14 individuals by
yesterday. A further 24 others are
listed as missing. However, obtain-
ing an exact figure had been made
complicated by the fact that several
individuals who were not registered
with local authorities were said to
be staying with some families at the
time of the disaster.
Meanwhile, the army expressed
confidence that it would be able to
reopen the Koslanda-Poonagala road
running through Meeriyabedda watta
for traffic by early this week. The road
had been made impassable due to
a large section of it being buried in
the landslide. However, much of the
rubble had been cleared away by yes-
terday.
World Bank...
Chamara Sumanapala
Sri Lanka has developed its infrastructure to
gain full use of the 21st Century Maritime Silk
Route (MSR) proposed by China, said by Central
Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. He also said
that Sri Lanka’s aspiration of becoming five hubs
should be synergized with it so that the country
could get the full use of it.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s economic pol-
icy framework has aimed to establish a maritime,
commercial, knowledge, tourism and energy hub,
and Sri Lanka is aware of the potential and have
made steps to achieve these goals, Cabraal said
at a seminar on MSR organized by the Lakshman
Kadirgamar Institute.
He added that President Rajapaksa had stated
about Hambantota becoming a new hub in eco-
nomic activity in the Mahinda Chinthana policy
framework in 2005 even before China had pro-
posed the 21st Century MSR.
Cabraal mentioned that Singapore with one
international airport and one mega port located
close to each other, has reaped massive econom-
ic gains. Sri Lanka has already two international
airports and two nearby ports and therefore has a
better chance of reaping economic advantages.
However, to make a long-lasting and produc-
tive economic transformation, Sri Lanka needs to
make full use of the five hubs principle, and MSR
will help in this objective, Cabraal said.
He also expressed his belief that MSR will
pave the way for a knowledge hub in Sri Lanka
that can focus on maritime law, research and
development, fisheries training and training in oil
and gas exploration. He mentioned that Sri Lanka
can establish world-class knowledge centers and
welcome foreigners also.
Cabraal also added that the Sri Lankan Gov-
ernment’s Budget for 2015, which is currently be-
ing debated in Parliament, has outlined policies
to improve skills development, tourism and infra-
structure that will tie into MSR. MSR will also be
facilitated by the successful launch of Asian In-
frastructure Investment Bank, to which Sri Lanka
and 20 other countries have joined.
Infrastructure
development aims to
harness MSR benefits
- Cabraal
Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) Regiment, the old-
est Regiment in the Army which also has hitherto,
rendered a unique contribution towards defense of
the Motherland since its inception in 1881, had its
‘Colors Night’ on November 04 at Colombo Bishop’s
College auditorium during a glittering ceremony.
Out of 137 SLLI recipients of Colors for their
achievements in sports, 80 SLLI sportsmen be-
came eligible to receive prestigious Army Colors
during the same ceremony, which saw 4 SLLI Bat-
talion was adjudged the Best One.
With Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, Com-
mander of the Army as the Chief Guest, accom-
panied by Mrs Damayanthi Ratnayake, President,
Army Seva Vanitha Unit, the colorful event began
soon after the welcome speech, delivered by Colo-
nel of the SLLI Regiment, Major General K.A.D.A
Karunasekera.
SLLI Regiment
celebrates
‘Colors Night’
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