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Housing Ministry Secretary added to Admin Officers’ Pool

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Urban Development and Housing Ministry Secretary Pradeep Rathnayake has been referred to the Pool of Administrative Officers under the Public Administration Ministry over misconduct committed when he was the Matara District Secretary.

Internal sources at the Public Administration Ministry said that this decision has been taken by the Presidential Secretariat after receiving the preliminary investigation report of the inquiry into the matter.

Mr. Ratnayake was scheduled to retire at the end of this year.

Ministry secretaries are managed through the Presidential Secretariat.

The government has focused on emptying the pool of administrative officers and the Public Administration Ministry said the officials who are in this pool will be employed in temporary positions.

Former Sports Ministry Secretary Anuradha Wijekoon was also in this pool but he was appointed as an Additional Secretary of the Public Administration Ministry recently.

Action to be taken against more..

Meanwhile, it was reported that the Ministry is focusing on transferring several senior and junior administrative officials employed in the Peliyagoda, Kelaniya, Gampaha, Wattala and Ja-ela areas over incidents of misconduct.

Most of them have been accused of complicity in granting permits to construct unauthorised buildings, endangering public health and complicity in constructing substandard roads.

Special attention has also been paid on the complaints received to the Bribery Commission via the Public Administration Ministry against these officials.

Meanwhile, a reliable source revealed that a report is being prepared at the Western Province Governor’s Office regarding the state officials who disregard the instructions of the Governor.

A special programme has also been implemented at the Presidential Secretariat to collect data of administrative officials against whom allegations have been made through the media.

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New drug network operated from Singapore detected!

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A daily newspaper has revealed information about a new drug network active in major cities including Colombo.

It is said that this network is being operated from Singapore and a large-scale drug trafficker connected to the underworld and released on bail operates the local network.

It was reported that his son had also been sent to Singapore.

The news further says:

“The anti-narcotics units have received information that this underworld leader is also planning to travel to Singapore. These smugglers pay a commission of Rs.50,000 per person for a daily sale of Rs.1 million worth of ice drugs and heroin in Colombo. The smugglers earn a daily income of about Rs.30 million from this drug network and more than Rs.10 million goes to the smugglers as net profit.

The drug deals are taking place at Kalipullawatte in Dematagoda, Maligawatta Alba Flats and Keselwatta.

Large-scale drug traffickers were mostly concentrated in Dubai and India. Majority of them operated the drug trafficking from these countries and two or three other smugglers were operating from the UK and France. This is the first time that this type of trafficking has been detected in Singapore.”

Source – Aruna

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No communal approach in supporting Sri Lanka: India

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Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar justified his government’s support to Sri Lanka, saying India would be shirking its responsibility if it did not step forward to support a crisis-hit neighbour.

According to PTI, the Minister expressed these views in Parliament yesterday (7) in response to MDMK member Vaiko who sought explanation as to why India abstained from voting on a draft resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka in Geneva.

Mr. Jaishankar said the economic support that India offered to Sri Lanka during its worst post-independence economic crisis was for the entire country and not based on any communal approach.

Replying to clarifications sought by MPs on his suo motu statement on foreign policy in Rajya Sabha, the minister said India absenting from a vote against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Commission was in accordance with the long-standing position — which was also followed by previous governments — that it “is the most constructive way of addressing, advancing the interest of Tamil community in Sri Lanka.” “That continues to be our approach,” he said.

On the support to Sri Lanka, he said, “We have given support to the entire Sri Lanka which also includes the Tamil community.” “We have not taken the communal approach in giving support,” he said.

“To have a neighbour in this kind of a serious economic situation, we would be shirking our responsibilities if we did not step forward at that moment and that is exactly what we have done.”

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Who’s behind taxing essential items instead of cigarettes?

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The government is not adhering to a correct tax policy when it comes to the tobacco company, and as a result the country is losing revenue in taxes, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam said.

He expressed these views at a joint press conference held in Colombo for the first time with the Samagi Jana Balawegaya.

The MP pointed out that the tobacco company has earned Rs.40 billion in 2021 and Rs.50 billion in 2022.

However, he said the government is taxing the essential items used by the poor instead of taxing the tobacco company.

Officials in tobacco company’s pocket

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa made a disclosure in this regard in Parliament and revealed that former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa cut the tax on Capstan cigarettes by 50%.

As a result, he said the country loses Rs.63 billion per year.

It was also revealed that some politicians and officials are in the pockets of tobacco companies.

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