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Northern Railway Line to be closed for 6 months from January?

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Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardana said that it has been decided to close down the Northern Railway Line from next January and modernise it within six months.

He expressed these views while speaking at a news conference held at the Presidential Media Centre yesterday (04).

“The northern railway line was temporarily closed from January to upgrade the tracks from Anuradhapura to Kankesanthurai. Further upgrades are scheduled on this northern track from Mahawa to Anuradhapura in January 2024. Once these upgrades are completed, trains on the northern track would be able to operate at a speed of 100km per hour from Colombo to Kankesanthurai,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the restoration work of the railway track from Colombo to Panadura will commence within the next few days.

He said a loan agreement is to be signed under Indian loan assistance for the modernisation of the signalling system. A renovation process to increase the speed by removing the speed limits of the Kelani Valley Railway Line will commence from the first week of this month.

He said a Cabinet paper has been presented to replace issuance of tickets with electronic cards.

“When you transact using advanced technology such as a card or QR system instead of cash, you could increase the income of each of these institutions by at least 50%,” he said.

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Skill or professional stream to be added to O/Ls

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State Minister for Social Empowerment Mr. Anupa Pasqual, emphasized that new laws are being introduced to facilitate the use of uncultivated land for agricultural purposes as land is vital for social empowerment. 

The state minister also announced that the government has decided to incorporate a skill or professional stream into the G.C.E (Ordinary Level) Examination to promote social empowerment.

“A fundamental ideology we have advocated is the need for educational system reform to uplift society. Hence, individuals should not be labelled as exam failures solely due to struggles in subjects like maths, religion, or language at the G.C.E (O/L) examination. Therefore, the government has resolved to integrate skill-based or vocational streams into the G.C.E (O/L) Examination syllabus. This concept reflects societal acceptance. Accordingly, the Ministry of Education plans to implement this initiative from the beginning of next year. It is imperative to note that forthcoming educational reforms aim to cultivate skilled professionals,” he said.

The State Minister made these remarks during a press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) today (May 21).

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Move to sell LSD-infected cattle amid disease outbreak

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With the outbreak of the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) among cattle in the Nuwara Eliya District, there is a growing tendency among dairy farmers to sell off their affected livestock.

Dr. Suresh Kumara, the Government Veterinary Surgeon in charge of the Kotagala-Talawakele division, reported that the district contributes 12 percent of the Central Province’s milk production. 

The outbreak has led to the death of many milch cows, resulting in a sharp decline in milk output.

In response to the outbreak, affected dairy farmers have begun selling their LSD-infected cattle to slaughterhouses. 

Dr. Kumara emphasized the need for vaccination to control the disease but noted that the necessary vaccine is currently unavailable.

(dailymirror.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Puttalam District schools to reopen tomorrow

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Schools in the Puttalam District are scheduled to reopen tomorrow (May 22) for academic activities, according to the Provincial Director of Education of the North-Western Province. 

However, the Zonal Directors of Education have been authorised to decide otherwise depending on the weather conditions, the Provincial Director adds.

All schools in the Puttalam District remained closed yesterday and today due to adverse weather conditions.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Education Ministry states that news reports claiming that tomorrow is a school holiday, is false.

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