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Group of ITN staffers to seek Supreme Court intervention

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A group of staffers of the Independence Television Network (ITN) is to seek Supreme Court intervention over the irregularities of a voluntary retirement scheme of the state institution, which is underway at present, the Daily Mirror learns.

One of the aggrieved staff members of the ITN told the Daily Mirror yesterday that several irregularities of the proposed VRS had affected certain qualified staff members who have applied for that already.

He said the proposed VRS was announced by an institutional circular (ITN/1551) issued on June 13 this year, undersigned by its General Manager and 113 staff members altogether had applied for the scheme.

Out of the applied 113 staff members, about 79 had initially been approved for the scheme, and the individual applications were authorized by their respective unit heads and divisional heads.

However, six applicants of this approved list of 79, had been slashed afterwards bringing down the approved list to 73 and already 30 of them had been granted letters of VRS by terminating their services from December 15th pending the payment of compensation, the staffer said.

The aggrieved staff members had complained to the Commissioner of Labour and the first inquiry was held before the Assistant Labour Commissioner for Colombo East on October 17th.

The staff members who were exempted from the VRS claim among the irregularities were issues of approving applicants with shorter periods of service compared to those who were with a longer service, approving staffers over the stipulated age limit of 50 years and not issuing index numbers for the received or processed applications.

Also, some of the serious irregularities are approving the VRS compensation to several staffers who had left ITN for foreign employment in the past year with no pay leave and even granting the VRS to employees who hold the only position of certain mandatory units.

The aggrieved staffers claim that although the institution’s director board should be responsible for the selection and approval process of this VRS, only three deputy general managers are performing that act.

When contacted ITN Chairman Sudarshana Gunawardena said they were carrying out the VRS programme as per the government circular in 2016 and looking at the excess staff of certain units and departments of the institution.

Gunawardena said he had already received the appeals of the aggrieved party and that they had already set up an appeal board to consider such complaints.

“We understand how certain applicants have grievances as they were not selected but the institution was based only on the recommendations of the deputy general managers when selecting the suitable applicants as per the service requirement,” he said.

“If anybody is not satisfied with the management decision they could always go for legal action, which we can respond afterwards,” the Chairman said.

(dailymirror.lk)

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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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