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Didn’t join Alliance led by Sajith: Sudarshini

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Gampaha District SLPP MP Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle rejected the reports which said she has joined the Samagi Jana Alliance led by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa.

She said she resigned as a State Minister in April 2022 and decided to act as an independent MP in Parliament after considering the hardships the public is going through.

“I have always acted true to my conscience, and as a public representative, I have not hesitated to support people-friendly proposals tabled by the government and reject the proposals deemed harmful to the public,” MP Fernandopulle said in a Facebook post.

The MP said she met with the Opposition Leader and other opposition MPs to discuss the common objectives that must be fulfilled towards the public as an opposition at a time that the 2023 Budget was being tabled. She said a consensus was reached to fulfil such tasks as one opposition in Parliament.

The Facebook post of the MP:

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Man arrested for cooking venison in Yala Bungalow!

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Three kilos of venison and wild boar meat have been seized while a group of visitors were preparing them at the Old Pier Bungalow (Yala Bungalow) reserved for VIPs in the Yala National Park.

This bungalow can only be reserved for the VIPs through the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation, and questions have been raised as to how this group has reserved the bungalow.

The bungalow had been given to this group of people who arrived from Beliatta for two days on June 06 and 07. They have brought one and a half kilos of venison and one and a half kilos of wild boar meat to the bungalow and instructed the watchman to cook the meat for them.

However, when the watchman objected, the visitors had said that they would complain to Wildlife and Forest Conservation Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi if he did not cook the meat.

The watchman has insisted that he would not cook venison.

Later on, the wildlife officials raided the bungalow when one visitor was preparing venison.

One man was arrested by the wildlife officials for possessing venison and he was fined Rs.60,000 after being produced in the Tissamaharama Magistrate’s Court.

The Yala Wildlife Officials are conducting investigations into the incident since the supply, possession and transportation of venison within National Parks is strictly prohibited.

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Consideration of Betting & Gaming Taxes Bill postponed

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The first meeting of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) for the fourth session of ninth Parliament was held recently (07) under the chairmanship of MP Dr. Harsha de Silva.

The Betting and Gaming Levy (Amendment) Bill was discussed at the meeting and the consideration of the bill was postponed for a week until a timeline for establishing a regulatory authority for casinos is worked out.

The chairman of the committee pointed out that the establishment of a regulatory authority regarding the casino business was previously discussed.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Finance has prepared a timeframe for this regulatory authority to get Cabinet approval by January 31, 2023.

However, since it has not been done, the committee mentioned that a new timeframe is needed and a period of one week will be given to prepare it for the Ministry of Finance.

Accordingly, it was decided to meet the COPF in a week to consider the Bill.

Also, the COPF approved the regulation under Appropriation Act No. 30 of 2021.

MPs Rauff Hakeem, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Duminda Dissanayake, Chandima Weerakkodi, Nimal Lanza, Sumith Udukumbura, Dr. Major Pradeep Undugoda, Kokila Gunawardena, Isuru Dodangoda, Sahan Pradeep Withana, Madhura Withanage and Prof. Ranjith Bandara participated in the meeting.

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Flood control plans halted without funds

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It was revealed that no institution has conducted a dedicated census to determine how many families are settled in the floodplains along the rivers in Sri Lanka.

Although the Irrigation Department has conducted a preliminary survey of the families living in the river valleys using Google Maps, it has not yet been completed. According to this survey, about 50,000 families live along the main rivers of the country.

An official of the department said that if there are floods along the Nilwala, Kalu, Ging, Kelani Rivers and Maha and Attanagalu Oya at the same time, the roads will be flooded trapping approximately 100,000 families.

Although the Irrigation Department has several projects to control floods, it has been problematic to implement them due to lack of funds.

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