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Thursday, May 25, 2017
Govt. to fill approximately 1,000 vacancies in North: Sagala Ratnayake
The Government will take immediate measures to fill approximately 1,000 vacancies in the North to address the unemployment issue in the area, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake informed Parliament yesterday.
The minister was replying to an Adjournment Motion moved by Opposition Leader R Sampanthan on the unemployment of youth in the North and East.
The minister told Parliament that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Jaffna over the weekend and had lengthy discussions on the matter of unemployment of youth.
“The Northern Chief Minister, several Jaffna district MPs and NPC ministers also attended the meeting. The protracted war had stopped employment creation in the area. The PM wanted me to communicate to the House that as the first measure to address this problem, approximately 1,000 vacancies in the North will be filled.
“These will be as Development Officers and Teachers. Mostly Arts Graduates will be recruited and they will be given some training. Similar measures will be taken to address the unemployment issue in the East,” he said.
The Opposition Leader demanded the immediate intervention of the Government to solve the unemployment issue in the North and East, also pointing out that almost eight years have lapsed since the end of war.
SLMC wants PSC appointed to look into archaeological destruction
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday in Parliament, requested for the appointment of a Parliament Select Committee (PSC) to look into allegations of destruction of archaeological sites and forests.
The minister made this request when Environment and Mahaweli Development Deputy Minister Anuradha Jayaratne and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam brought the attention of the House that the destruction of archaeological sites was a matter of concern in the North and East.
Deputy Minister Jayaratne told Parliament that a total of 94 archaeological sites in Ampara, Trincomalee and Batticaloa had been destroyed during the period from 2013 to 2017.
He said out of them, 47 sites were in Ampara, 30 in Trincomalee and 17 in Batticaloa.
He said it had been identified following a census that Ampara had 430 archaeological sites that needed to be protected. Commenting on the issues surrounding the Wilpattu forest, the Deputy Minister said the President has appointed an independent committee on May 17 to look into complaints by the people after declaring forest lands North of Wilpattu as a reserve. He said the report of this Committee was due within a month, adding that it would help to resolve the remaining problems in Wilpattu.
The issue came up as Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake pointed out that the Government should have made direct and immediate intervention when the issues of the Wilpattu forest clearing and destruction of archaeological sites in the East cropped up. “Had the Government dealt with these issues immediately and more effectively, the intervention of other organizations or groups would have been unwarranted,” he said.
Education Minister Kariyawasam pointed out the conduct of the Archaeological Department over the past years was highly questionable, adding that its inefficiency and apathy contributed to the sad state of affairs of the country’s archaeological heritage. “Now we are restructuring this Department. Many vacancies in it had not been filled in the past, but we have now taken measures to fill them,” he said.
Minister Hakeem intervening at this point, requested a PSC to look into the matters pertaining to archaeology and wildlife, adding that they have concerns over the Government’s recent decisions with regard to those matters.
“Some are using these very issues to trigger communal tensions. Let us have a broad discussion and solve them once and for all,” he said. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said the proposal to appoint a PSC would be taken up at the next Party Leaders’ Meeting.
If former govt sorted out delimitation issue, no delay in holding LG elections: Minister Mustapha
The proper way of holding Local Government Elections without any unnecessary delay would not have been a problem if the previous government had sorted out the delimitation issue, said Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapha in Parliament yesterday.The Minister further said that instead of solving the issue, the then Minister Hisbullah was dancing to the tune of the then Minister Basil Rajapaksa, creating delimitation in a Cool Room. He added that the previous government had created this mess, leaving us to sort out the mess they had created. That was one of the reason for the delay in holding the Local Government elections,” Minister Mustapha said.
The Minister made these observations in response to a question raised by Joint Opposition MP Dullas Alahapperuma.
The Minister also said that he always acted in a just manner. He added that the delimitation was a practical issue which had been made worse by Hisbullah during the previous regime. He added that had MP Dullas Alahapperuma been the minister responsible for preparing the delimitation during the previous government, it was sure that he (Minister Musthapa) would not have this problem today.
He also said that the government had cleared up the mess, while there were some political issues to be sorted out. He added that sorting out the technical problems had been completed.
He added that there were some political issues to be sorted out which were out of his purview.
“The minority and minor parties need to discuss matters with the Prime Minister and other party leaders to sort out political issues,” the Minister said.
Police should take responsibility in controlling such incidents: Minister Ratnayake
There had been several incidents that had caused communal disharmony in the recent past and there were flaws in implementing law and order against them from the Police, said Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake in Parliament yesterday.
He said the Police should take responsibility of controlling those incidents. He added that the Police should implement the law impartially, irrespective of religious and communal differences.
He made these observations in response to special statement made by EPDP Parliamentarian Douglas Devananda and Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake under Standing Order 23(2) on several incidents that could have affected communal harmony.
However, the Minister said the Police had informed him that investigations to the recent incidents of violence were in progress and they needed more time to provide him with complete findings of the recent incidents. “The Police needed several days more,” Minister Ratnayake said. “Once investigations are over, the House would be informed.”
Minister Ratnayake further said that there had been several incidents of law and order being taking place and the Police could have acted fast. At this stage, JVP Leader Dissanayake said that not only the Police, but the government too could have done so.
“Yes, the government too,” Minister Ratnayake said. “We regret such incidents and we have paid them our fullest attention. We have emphasized to the Police that the law should be implemented and those responsible for the crimes should be dealt with. We would try to prevent the incidents of hate speech. We also accept that peace and maintenance of law and order is of paramount importance.” Minister Ratnayake further said the bomb explosion at Manchester brought back memories of the dark era of our past to our minds. “I as Minister of Law and Order, assure you that the government would to its best,” the Minister said.
The minister also said that such isolated incidents have been accounted as acts against communal disharmony. “One such incident was the Kahawatta incident. No body had attacked a shop owned by a Muslim person. One boutique had caught fire and the walls of the adjoining shop of the Muslim person had been gutted by the fire,” the Minister said. “The fire at the Muslim shop in Elpitiya was also another similar incident. CCTV footages proved a thief had robbed the shop and fled after setting fire to the shop. However, it was found that the suspect had been convicted for another theft in Kadugannawa two years ago.”
Govt. slack in arresting culprits propagating racial harmony in country: JVP Leader
The Government has done nothing to arrest the culprits concerning several incidents that had taken place during the past several days that had caused racial and communal disharmony in the country, accused JVP Parliamentarian and Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake in Parliament yesterday.
He made this observation moving a special statement under Standing Order 23 (2).
MP Dissanayake said the majority of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities abhor such violence. He added that none of them wanted to see the country being pushed towards communal disharmony. He also added that only a small group of people in our communities attempt to resume violent activities. They seem to have various intentions and motivations, including the creating of a Sinhala and Muslim clash. It is the duty of the government to act fast and prevent the country from being pushed towards disharmony by such groups.
“The government should have acted fast in preventing a situation that could push the country towards another bloodbath,” MP Dissanayake said. “There are serious doubts in the minds of the public that the government in the face of social and economic problems, was trying to make use of these violent incidents to divert the minds of the public.”
EPDP leader Douglas Devananda too making a special statement on the incidents of communal disharmony, reported in the recent past and urged the government to take immediate action to prevent the furtherance of similar incidents.
Act to suppress media: A wrong and incorrect statement: Dy. Minister Paranavithana
Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Deputy Minister Karunaratne Paranavithana refuted the statement that there was an attempt to move an Act to suppress Mass Media.
The Deputy Minister expressed his views in Parliament yesterday in response to a statement made by Joint Opposition Member Sisira Jayakody, who said that there was a rumour that the government was getting ready to pass an act to suppress the media.
“It is a wrong and incorrect statement,” said Deputy Minister Paranavithana. “There was a proposal pointing out the need of setting up an Independent Commission to regulate the media. It also was a proposal made by the media themselves.”
Deputy Minister Paranavithana said that acting on the proposal, a media advertisement was published to get the views of the public to set up an independent media mechanism.
Angunakolapelessa Prison to be opened next month: Justice Minister
The Angunakolapelessa new prison will be opened next month, Justice Minister Dr Wijayedasa Rajapakshe said in Parliament yesterday.
The construction of the prison complex commenced in 2014. The opening of this prison complex built with modern facilities by spending a large sum of money was postponed at a previous occasion as the President declined the official invitation to attend the ceremony.
The minister also said plans were afoot to shift the Welikada Prison to Horana. He said these moves would help to ease the overcrowding in prisons. He pointed out that about 17,000 persons are in prisons at present, adding that about 50 percent of them are youth imprisoned for drug related offences.
Rajapakshe was moving Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill for debate yesterday.
The minister said amendments were aimed at addressing the delay in civil court cases. He pointed out a total of 745,888 cases had been piled up in the country’s courts of law, adding that the majority of them were at Magistrate and District Courts. As at December 31, 2016, there were 3,566 cases in the Supreme Court, 4,837 cases in the Appeal Court, 171,896 cases in District Courts and 539,392 cases in Magistrate Courts, the minister said. He also said the Government is working to introduce a new Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code to suit modern times. He added that two Committees comprised of legal experts are working for that purpose.