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Chaos at BIA raises questions (Video)

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Questions have been raised after chaos at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake last night (May 01) has sparked widespread outrage.

This is with regard to a controversial takeover of the on-arrival visa issuance process at BIA by an Indian company – VFS Global since yesterday evening.

It is learnt that the company has levied an extra $25 alongside the standard $75 fee.

Long lines of frustrated travellers were also seen at the airport for several hours, which is a stark difference to the procedure smoothly managed in a matter of mere minutes by the Immigration and Emigration Department in the past.

Footage of a Sri Lankan citizen expressing outrage over Indian nationals deciding visa matters for fellow Sri Lankans, has also been making rounds on social media.

Although 10 Sri Lankan and Indian officers had commenced work from 5.00pm yesterday, the lines remained well over 9.00pm. Amid tensions, higher officials of the BIA and security forces had also arrived at the premises.

At 11.30pm the company officials temporarily suspended issuing visas and left the BIA with the money collected, reports say.

Upon the directive of the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration – Harsha Ilukpitiya, Immigration officers have commenced their usual duties with no issues since then, enabling the previous process to continue smoothly.

Concerns have been raised over the lack of transparency in this arrangement.

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India in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines

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India is in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines in the island nation.

The demand for graphite is steadily increasing, as it is the most common material used for anodes in lithium-ion and other batteries.

The Indian government had discussions with the government of Sri Lanka on acquiring graphite mines there, sources said.

(PTI)

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Karapitiya Hospital to be a National Hospital

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The Cabinet has approved the proposal to develop the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital as a National Hospital.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet briefing that took place today (May 23), Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardane said that this will be the third National Hospital in addition to the two National Hospitals in Colombo and Kandy.

The relevant Cabinet paper had been presented by Health Minister Ramesh Pathirana.

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36,900 power breakdowns due to inclement weather

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The Ceylon Electricity Board has reported over 36,900 breakdowns resulting in power interruptions to more than 300,000 consumers in the last 3 days due to inclement weather, says Power and Energy Minister – Kanchana Wijesekera.

Taking to X, the minister notes that additional service staff has been assigned to attend the breakdowns and the CEB management & service staff are working 24 hours to restore power to the affected consumers.

If consumers are unable to repot power interruptions through the CEB hotline 1987, they can use the SMS option to 1987 with BD and the electricity consumer number to follow, use the CEB Care app or through http://cebcare.ceb.lk, he adds.

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