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Fresh legislation for individuals with disabilities

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State Minister for Social Empowerment, Anupa Pasqual, announced that, under the guidance of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, they are actively crafting a fresh legislation dedicated to improving the rights and well-being of differently abled individuals.

In his statement, the state minister emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring that differently abled citizens are no longer considered a dependent population and that they should be treated as equal citizens, not relegated to second-class status. 

State Minister Anupa Pasqual made these remarks during a press conference conducted at the Presidential Media Centre today (08), cantered around the theme of  ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country.’

Expressing his views further State Minister Pasqual said;

We have been entrusted with a significant mission aimed at empowering our society in the upcoming year. One of the most notable tasks assigned to our ministry is the empowerment of 1 million beneficiaries from underprivileged backgrounds. It is crucial to highlight that the 1.6 million differently abled community members have not received the empowerment they deserve thus far. Under the dedicated guidance of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, we are committed to completing these initiatives in the coming year.

To kick-start the International Day of the Disabled, observed on the 1st of December, we have organized special activities aimed at promoting the development of the differently abled individuals, just like any other segment of our society. Our initiative, named “Empo 2023,” involves differently abled individuals from across the island traveling by train from Colombo to Kandy, with a visit to the Dalada Maligawa and a special ceremony planned at the Peradeniya Botanical Garden. What’s truly remarkable is that the event will bring together differently abled communities from around the world, including China and Japan.

Additionally, at the recommendation of the President, we are actively working on a new bill designed to better the lives of differently abled people. Although discussions on this matter have been on-going since 2004, concrete progress has been elusive. We are now committed to drafting and presenting the bill to Parliament within the first quarter of the next year. Furthermore, we have organized a special conference on International Disability Day, set for December 1st, under the leadership of Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

Furthermore, it is a fundamental aspect of our government’s policy to ensure that the differently abled community is no longer considered a group dependent on others. To achieve this, we are actively working to enable their participation in the development and education sectors. The differently abled community should be treated as equals, with the same rights, technological resources and accessibility as the rest of our population.

As we embark on the journey into January, our ministry’s primary empowerment goal revolves around productivity. We are keen on exploring how our community can contribute to the overall Gross Domestic Product. Our objective is to establish a micro-level production network involving 1 million participants.

In addition, we have included proposals in this year’s budget. These proposals entail making the empowerment process mandatory, implementing a pension system and incorporating disability studies into university syllabi.

President’s Media Division (PMD) 

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Expressways generate whopping income during Avurudu season

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The expressways have generated an income of Rs. 159,802,950 from April 10 – 13, Road Development Authority (RDA) says.

According to the Director of Expressway Operation Maintenance and Management Division – R.A.D. Kahatapitiya.

Over 4,350,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this period, he has added.
As many as 366,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this three-day period.

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Special transport arrangements to those returning to Colombo

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Special train services are in operation from this evening (April 14) for people to return to Colombo after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, the Railways Department said.

Deputy General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways –  N.J. Indipolage stated that accordingly, eight additional train journeys will be in operation from Badulla, Galle and Beliatta railway stations to Colombo Fort.

The Department of Railways also mentioned that the office trains will be operational as per usual from April 16.

Meanwhile, the National Transport Commission has said that special buses will be deployed to transport those who had gone to their hometowns during the New Year.
Bus associations have also stated that buses to Colombo will be operational.

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Local multi-day fishing trawler seized with ICE & heroin worth over Rs. 3798 Mn.

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In another successful intelligence operation of the Sri Lanka Navy, a local multi-day fishing trawler (01) carrying a large haul of narcotics, with 06 suspects aboard, were intercepted about 133 nautical miles (about 246 km) off Dondra, south of Sri Lanka. 

The operation also resulted in the seizure of another local one-day fishing trawler (01) with 04 suspects, believed to have been there to fetch the consignment of narcotics mid-sea. The operation was mounted by deploying Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship (SLCG) Samudraraksha which made the apprehension on 12th April 2024.

 The haul of narcotics included about 179kg and 906g of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) and about 83kg and 582g of heroin (with their packages). The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera arrived at the Galle Harbour on 13th April to inspect the consignment of narcotics held in this operation.
The Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard regularly patrol and conduct search operations along the island’s coast to prevent illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, stemming via sea routes.

During this dedicated operation based on naval intelligence, a suspicious multi-day fishing trawler, which was about 133 nautical miles (246 km) off the south coast of the island, was intercepted and searched by SLCG Samudraraksha. As the fishing trawler was suspected of smuggling a haul of crystal methamphetamine and heroin in 17 sacks, during the search, the narcotic-carrying trawler was held on 12th April, with 06 suspects aboard.

Additionally, SLCG Samudraraksha inspected another local one-day fishing trawler, which was plying suspiciously in the sea area. During the inspection, 04 suspects were apprehended, along with the trawler, on suspicion of attempting to exchange narcotics with the multi-day trawler previously seized.

Following a thorough search of the suspicious multi-day fishing trawler at the Galle Harbour on 13th April, authorities recovered 17 sacks containing crystal methamphetamine and heroin. The haul of crystal methamphetamine, weighing about 179kg and 906g (including packages), were in 129 packages, stuffed in 13 sacks and the stash of heroin, weighing about 83kg and 582g (including packages), were in 76 packages, contained in 04 sacks. The consignment of narcotics, along with the 06 suspects and the multi-day fishing trawler was handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) for onward legal action.

Moreover, the 04 individuals, along with the one-day fishing trawler, which were seized on suspicion of being involved in a drug exchange at sea, were also handed over to PNB for further legal action.

The individuals held in the operation are known to reside in the Weligama, Imaduwa, and Galle areas, ranging in age from 23 to 54 years old. Meanwhile, the gross street value of the consignment of drugs seized during this operation is believed to be more than Rs. 3798 million.

Including the recent confiscation, the Sri Lanka Navy has held drugs with a gross street value of over Rs. 9300 million during operations mounted so far in 2024. The Sri Lanka Navy – the country’s first line of defence is committed to coordinating with other law enforcement authorities, to carry out anti-drug operations of this nature in order to foil drug smuggling attempts being made in the guise of fishing.

(navy.lk)

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