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Aswesuma 2nd phase : Ways & Means committee ready to be a facilitator

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The 18th meeting of the Committee on Ways and Means was held yesterday (22) in Parliament under the Chairmanship of MP Patali Champika Ranawaka.
The discussion held was in connection with the implementation of the appeal process of the “Aswasuma” benefit program and obtaining the Grama Niladhari officials for the implementation of its second phase.

Representative officials of the Welfare Benefit Board, Director Generals of Institutions and Grama Niladhari officials Trade Unions, Sri Lanka United Grama Niladhari officials Association, All Ceylon Independent Grama Niladhari officials Association, Graduate Grama Niladhari officials Association, Government Grama Niladhari officials Association, Sri Lanka Administrative Grama Niladhari officials Association, All Ceylon Administrative Grama Niladhari officials Association, Sri Lanka United Grama Niladhari officials Association were called before this Committee meeting held.

Ready to be a facilitator

It was stated that the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government should find a solution for the concerns related to the service constitution of the Grama Niladhari officials in order to get the services of the Grama Niladhari officials in relation to the appeal process of the “Aswasuma” benefit program and the implementation of its second phase, and it was also stated that the Chairman has informed that the Committee on Ways and Means is ready to provide the necessary coordination as a facilitator for a discussion held by the Grama Niladhari officials.
The Chair inquired about the issues raised by the Grama Niladhari officials in connection with the benefit program. The Grama Niladhari officials stated that there is a need for a written authorization specifying the specific role expected from the Grama Niladhari officials in connection with the benefit program. Moreover, the need to appoint administrative Grama Niladhari officials as a supervisory officer in non-obligatory duties was also pointed out. It was also emphasized that it is essential to specify in writing the legal protection, the time frame for work responsibilities and the stipend paid to the officials and that the stipend should be sufficient for the existing cost of living and the relevant role. The Committee Chair, MP Patali Champika Ranawaka, pointed out that it is important to have a coordinated program for Aswasuma as previously the government initiated a program to provide technology to the people by establishing ‘Vidatha’ centers with the Samurdhi program and the Central Bank started a loan scheme like Saubhagya.

Discussion for Grama Niladhari officialsThe Chair also recommended that a discussion be called for the 332 Administrative Grama Niladhari officials across Sri Lanka and three each from one Grama Niladhari officials Trade Union to determine accountability, technical changes, allowances, etc. in relation to obtaining an agreement for the appeal process and implementation of the second phase of the Aswasuma benefit program.

Furthermore, the Chair recommended that the responsibilities of the Grama Niladhari official and administrative Grama Niladhari official should be given in writing and to consider to review and repeal the sections 21 and 22 of the relevant Act which may punish them legally when delegating authority to the Grama Niladhari official. The Committee Chair also pointed out the need to get opinions from the grassroots level when setting criteria for such programs.

Apart from this, the human-elephant conflict in the Irudeniya area was also discussed at the Committee meeting held.

State Minister – Shasheendra Rajapaksa, Members of Parliament Ashok Abeysinghe, Sanjeeva Edirimanna, Nalaka Bandara Kottegoda, Wasantha Yapabandara were present at the Committee meeting held.

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Additional Health Secy. to Court

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Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. Saman Rathnayake who was arrested and remanded over the medicine procurement scandal was escorted to the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court, to provide a confidential or In Camera statement.

Saman Ratnayake, who was interrogated for over seven hours, was arrested at the Criminal Investigation Department last Friday.

He was presented before the Maligakanda court last Saturday.

When the case was called, the magistrate remanded the suspect until March 14, considering the facts presented by the Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Girihagama.

The suspect thereafter informed court via counsel of his willingness to provide a statement In Camera.

Therefore, the magistrate ordered the suspect to appear before the court on March 4, today, to deliver the confidential statement.

(News 1st)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by News 1st has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Electricity, petroleum supply, declared essential services

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An Extraordinary Gazette has been issued declaring all activities related to the supply of electricity and petroleum products as essential services.

The relevant gazette has been issued by the Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake on Sunday (03) by order of the President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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Fuel price revision likely tonight?

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A fuel price revision is likely to take place tonight (04), as per sources.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) stated that although the fuel price was slated to be revised at the end of February, the price revision will possibly take place today.

The CPC amends the fuel prices monthly as per the pricing formula. Accordingly, the prices were last revised on January 31, where the prices of octane 92 petrol, octane 95 petrol, super diesel and kerosene were increased.

Against this backdrop, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued an Extraordinary Gazette declaring all services connected to the supply of electricity and the supply or distribution of petroleum products and fuel as essential services with effect from 03 March 2024. 

Accordingly, the proclamation states that the services specified have been declared as Essential Public Service considering it necessary that the services provided by any Public Corporation or Government Department or Local Authority or Co-operative Society or any branch thereof being a Department or Corporation or Local Authority or Co-operative Society, which is engaged in provision of the services specified, is essential to the life of the community and is likely to be impeded or interrupted.

In the meantime, the Fuel Distributors’ Association alleges that the CPC has taken steps to incur a usage fee of 35% of the monthly rebate amount received by the fuel distributors. President of the association Shelton Fernando claimed that through this action, it will not be possible for them to even meet the daily expenses for the distribution activities.(adaderana.lk)

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