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Lotus Tower looking for investors 

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The Lotus Tower is looking for investors for its 44,000 square foot second floor after a rent agreement with a Singaporean company, backed by State Tourism Minister Diana Gamage, to set up a casino and entertainment area, lapsed with its conditions being unfulfilled.

A Singaporean firm named Kreate Design PTE forged a deal with the Lotus Tower Management Company (Pvt) Ltd (LTMC) last year for the sprawling floor in the tower base. The signing ceremony was attended by Minister Gamage and Arosha Fernando, Coordinating Secretary to the State Tourism Minister.

But three months into the agreement, its conditions–including that the company would secure the requisite casino licence–were not met. A month’s extension was granted on request but this, too, has expired, said Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Prasad Samarasinghe, LTMC Chief Executive Officer and Director.

“The floor is now open for anybody and we will be floating a tender in this regard,” he said. Rent goes at Rs. 500 per square foot and Rs. 100 per square foot for common areas.

Minister Gamage had claimed that Kreate would open Sri Lanka’s “first foreign-funded casino and entertainment hub” at a total input of US$ 1bn over three years. She said business was introduced to Sri Lanka in late November by her and that it would be the largest investment for the country since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All our plans are now ready to put into action as we will deliver what we have promised without any failure,” she was quoted as saying. The Singaporean company had reportedly tied up with a local firm through which it had applied for a casino licence.

Maj. Gen. Samarasinghe later confirmed that the company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for an annual rental of US$ 1.4mn. Under the 10-year agreement, LTMC was to have received a six-month refundable deposit and operations were to start last month.

LTMC has notified the parties that the MoU, along with the extension, lapsed on May 7. “We will be calling for proposals for a rent model and whoever wants to can bid,” Maj. Gen. Samarasinghe told the Sunday Times. “It doesn’t have to be just for a casino, it can be any model.”

Among the parties who inspected ii is an Omani investor who has previously expressed interest in UDA properties around Colombo; and an Indian investor who is also considering the casino option. The tender has not been advertised yet.

Considerable space in the Lotus Tower has already been rented out to food suppliers and others. And a deal is being hammered out for the management of the revolving restaurant, two banquet halls, six suites and kitchen.

There is a bungee jumping operator and a mega zip-line is also on the cards. All space on the dedicated technology floor is now filled, Maj. Gen. Samarasinghe said. More than 828,000 people –14,700 of them foreign tourists — have visited the tower so far.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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Decision on water tariff reduction, soon?

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Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman, announced that the reduction of water tariffs is being studied alongside the new electricity tariff revision, with a decision expected by the end of this week.

The Minister also highlighted that the Water Supply Board, previously experiencing a monthly loss of LKR 2.8 billion, has now achieved a profit of LKR 6.2 billion.

Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman made these remarks during the ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ press briefing today (17)  at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC).

Minister Jeevan Thondaman, elaborating further, also stated:

We commend Minister Kanchana Wijesekera for initiating steps to lower electricity tariffs. The water supply sector is closely tied to electricity tariffs, making it likely that this revision will also lead to reduced water tariffs.

Water availability is influenced by various factors. We previously committed to lowering water tariffs in tandem with reductions in electricity charges. Currently, the Ministry is not only focusing on electricity but also assessing the impact of reduced interest rates, down from 26% to 11%. Additionally, we are studying the potential reduction in water tariffs based on changes in the dollar exchange rate. It’s important to note that the cost of chemicals procured by the water supply board is influenced by the dollar exchange rate.

It is expected that by the end of this week, a decision will be made regarding the extent of the reduction in the water tariff. When I assumed office in January 2023, the Ministry faced challenges, unable to even provide 1,000 new water connections. Moreover, I inherited a Ministry burdened with an USD 800 million debt and a Water Supply Board experiencing monthly losses of approximately LKR 2.8 billion. The board’s monthly recurring expenses of LKR 4.5 billion had a significant national impact.

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4 females arrested over brutal assault on child

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Aranayaka Police say that 04 female suspects have been arrested over brutally assaulting a six year old child.

The arrests were made after a video of the incident had gone viral online.

Accordingly, the women including the child’s mother, have been arrested and are to be produced before the Mawanella Magistrate’s Court today (July 17).

The child, who is under the care of his father, is to be produced before the Mawanella Judicial Medical Officer (JMO).

Aranayaka Police is conducting further investigation into the incident.

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Price of several fertilizers to be reduced

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The Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera today (17) instructed the State Fertilizer Company to take steps to significantly reduce the prices of fertilizers used for plantation crops such as cinnamon, tea and coconut.

Accordingly, the President of State Fertilizer Company, Dr. Jagath Perera stated that the prices of 5 types of fertilizers such as APM, YPM, Urea ( Cinnamon), SA ( Cinnamon) and TDM fertilizers produced by State Fertilizer Company will be reduced from Rs.1500 to Rs.2000 with immediate effect.

A discussion was held today at the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries regarding the reduction of fertilizer prices. The minister gave these instructions during the discussion.

(dailynews.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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