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National Council gives instructions on electricity bill

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Respective officials were informed today (13) that the Ceylon Electricity Board and the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka hold discussions before the Public Utilities Commission takes the final decision on the 15th regarding the electricity bill.

Accordingly, the officials of both parties agreed to meet this afternoon (13) for the purpose of discussing this matter.

This was informed when the National Council met today (13) under the chairmanship of Speaker Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana and Prime Minister Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena.

The Chairman of the Electricity Board said that if the required percentage is not allowed to be increased in a background where the Electricity Board is demanding a 60% increase in electricity tariffs, it will have to face a serious crisis. Accordingly, he pointed out that due to the lack of money even to import coal in the future, there is a risk for longer power cut.

The officials of the Public Utilities Commission said that arrangements are being made to announce the final decision on the electricity increase on the 15th. They also pointed out that the data from the CEB and the views of the relevant stakeholders including the public have been obtained.

Attention was also paid to the fact that the Chairman and the Director General of the Public Utilities Commission are currently abroad. The Secretary of the Public Utilities Commission said that they had gone abroad after proper permission as planned many months ago and the Chairman and Director General had intervened in all these activities in full capacity.

The National Council pointed out that at such time, it is more important to discuss the views of both the Electricity Board and the Public Utilities Commission and come to a consensus and take a decision where as in failure to do so would otherwise cause suffering to the people which cannot be avoided.

Furthermore, the chairman to the National Council sub-committee Identifying the Priorities in Formulation of Short-, Medium- & Long-Term National Policies, Member of Parliament Hon. Namal Rajapaksa informed the National Council of the National Policy Commission to be established. The Prime Minister gave instructions to take steps to get the views and suggestions of the members of Parliament after completing the preparation of the concept paper. Accordingly, the Prime Minister said that necessary steps will be taken through the National Council on this regard.

Ministers Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga, Hon. Kanchana Wijesekera, Hon. Tiran Alas, State Ministers Hon. Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan, Hon. D. V. Chanaka, Hon. Sisira Jayakody, Members of Parliament Hon. Johnston Fernando, Hon. Rohitha Abeygunawardana, Hon. A. L. M. Athaullah, Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, Hon. Sagara Kariyawasam were present at the meeting held. Mr. Tikiri K. Jayathilake, Assistant Secretary General of Parliament was also present at the Council meeting held.

Moreover, the members of the Public Utilities Commission, the officials of the Ministry of Power and Energy and the Ceylon Electricity Board were also summoned before the National Council.

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India relaxes onion export ban for Sri Lanka and UAE

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India has lifted its ban on onion exports, permitting the shipment of 10,000 metric tonnes to Sri Lanka, announced the Indian High Commission in Colombo. 

This move, aligned with India’s Neighbourhood First policy, aims to support Sri Lanka during its Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations.

The decision comes as a relief for Sri Lanka, where onion prices surged following export bans imposed by both India and Pakistan.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has issued a gazette notice granting permission to National Co-operative Exports Limited for the export of 10,000 MT of onions to Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, the UAE has been granted permission to import an additional 10,000 MT of onions, in addition to the 24,400 MT already permitted. This decision is significant given the substantial Indian and South Asian expat community residing in the UAE.

The relevant gazette notification is given below.

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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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