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8 committees to resolve land issues island wide

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The President assured immediate solutions to land, housing, health, irrigation, and agriculture-related issues in the Northern Province.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that eight (08) committees would be appointed at the provincial level to resolve land-related issues in the North and South of the country would be resolved accordingly.

President Wickremesinghe made these observations while participating in the District Development Committee meeting held at the Vavuniya District Secretariat this morning (19).

The development committee meeting was called covering Vavuniya, Mannar, and Mullaitivu districts in the Northern Province. 

The issues related to the lands, housing, health, irrigation, and agriculture in the province and solutions for them were discussed at length during the meeting.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe assured that all measures would be taken to improve the living conditions of the people by providing prompt solutions to the problems arising in various fields in the Northern Province and said that he expected the supportive hands of the parliamentarians of the Northern Province in this endeavor.

Pointing out that there are many unsolved problems in the North, the President further assured that he would resolve those issues by way of discussions with all parties.

Parliamentarian Charles Nirmalanathan drew the attention of the President to the fact that the Tamil people who settled in the Settikulam area in 1994 have still not been provided with land.

The President instructed the Vavuniya District Secretary to intervene to resolve the land issue in Settikulam within 03 months and added that he would inquire about the matter from the Ministry of Justice as well as the Ministry of Lands.

At the meeting, attention was also drawn to the problems arising due to the acquisition of certain farmlands in the Mullaitivu district by the Department of Archaeology.Special attention was focused on the housing problem of the people in the Northern Province and the officials pointed out that the housing projects initiated to address the issue in the three districts have reached different stages of construction and an additional sum of Rs. 3000 million is required for its completion.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe pointed out that many housing projects have commenced across the island and he expected to provide quick solutions to the housing problem of the people in the North.

Parliamentarian Selvam Adekkalanathan highlighted the plight and the needs of the people living in the vicinity of Vavuniya Lake and Thirikkulam Lake and drew the attention of the President at the meeting.

The renovation of the tanks in the districts, solving the fertilizer problem, and streamlining the distribution activities also was the focal point at the meeting.

The President instructed the officials to take measures to provide the necessary solutions to the health sector-related problems and the shortage of doctors in the Northern Province paying special attention to them when the issues were raised during the meeting.

Parliamentarian Rishad Bathuideen explained various irregularities that the fishermen in the Mannar district have to face in the supply of kerosene oil and the President instructed the officials to initiate an urgent inquiry into the matter.

Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, Urban Development, and Housing State Minister Tenuka Vidanagamage, State Minister for Rural Development Kader Mastan, Northern Province Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake and public officials including district secretaries were present on the occasion.

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IMF approves Sri Lanka program review

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The International Monetary Fund has approved a review of Sri Lanka’s program, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry has said.

On a X post, he has said, “This achievement is a testament to our dedication to driving forward economic reforms and securing a prosperous future for all Sri Lankans.”

According to the State Minister of Finance – Shehan Semasinghe, “a favorable outcome from the review is expected to unlock the 3rd tranche of approximately USD 330 million”.

The IMF had earlier said Sri Lanka had made “sufficient progress” on debt restructuring for a review on June 12, despite final deals pending with bilateral creditors and private creditors.

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Another probe related to Easter Sunday attacks

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the actions taken by the State Intelligence Service (SIS), Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), and other relevant authorities concerning prior intelligence received about the bomb attacks on April 21, 2019. This decision follows the findings of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry, dated January 31, 2021, which highlighted that Indian Intelligence agencies and other sources had provided advance warnings about the impending attacks.

The Committee of Inquiry will be chaired by Ms. A.N.J. De Alwis, Retired Judge of the High Court. Other esteemed members of the committee include SLAS special grade Officer Ms. K.N.K. Somaratne and Senior Lawyer Mr. W.M.A.N. Nishane, AAL. 

The committee’s mandate includes examining whether actions or measures were taken by the SIS, CNI, and other relevant authorities based on the prior information or intelligence on an impending attack on April 21, 2019 by Indian intelligence agencies and any other sources and if so, adequacy of the actions and measure taken by the SIS, CNI and other relevant authorities. 

Additionally, the committee will investigate the circumstances surrounding the Directorate of Military Intelligence’s (DMI) and Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) initial belief that the Vavunathivu killing of two police officers on November 30, 2018, was connected to the LTTE. This belief was held for four months before suspects with alleged links to the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) were identified.

A compact disk containing the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Bomb Attacks of April 21, 2019, has been provided to the committee. The President has authorized the committee to inquire relevant officials and examine pertinent documents to thoroughly investigate these matters.

Ms. Sarathanjali Manoharan, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President, will serve as the Secretary to the Committee of Inquiry. The committee is expected to submit its report, including findings and recommendations, to the President by September 15, 2024.

(President’s Media Division)

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New, free train ride for pilgrims visiting Mihintale (Video)

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Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena has said that a new short train ride between Anuradhapura and Mihintale will be arranged for pilgrims during the Poson season.

He said this at the Cabinet briefing held today (June 12) at the Government Information Department.

Since work on the Northern railway line have been delayed, 400 special buses will be deployed to Anuradhapura instead during the Poson season, he added.

Noting that a special railway line from Anuradhapura to Mihintale has been reconstructed,  the minister said that Sri Lanka Railways has been directed to arrange special, free train rides on this line for pilgrims.

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