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Peliyagoda land to be sold to pay salaries of two state institutions!

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State Engineering Corporation (SEC) Chairman Rathnasiri Kalupahana said that a Cabinet paper has been prepared to sell a valuable land located in Peliyagoda belonging to the SEC for about 10 billion rupees.

He said that the land will be sold for the payment of employee salaries, arrears of salaries and arrears of EPF of the SEC and its affiliated National Equipment and Machinery Organization (NEMO).

The chairman said that it has been decided to sell a 17-acre, 2-rood, 17-perch land with a high urban value located next to the Peliyagoda Fish Market.

Mr. Kalupahana said this when inquired about the payment of mere Rs.7,000 to the NEMO employees for the month of May.

He said that due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country and the collapse of the construction sector, the salary payment to the employees of SEC and NEMO has become a serious issue due to the loss of income. He said steps have been taken to pay a part of the salary in this way from the money that received.

The chairman said that Rs.2,600 million will also be required to pay some 1,100 employees who are ready to retire voluntarily.

He said that the large-scale financial irregularities of NEMO and the recruitment of an excess of employees during the ‘Yahapalana’ Government have also led to the issues at the institution.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Kalupahana said that they have pointed out to the ministers in charge and the Ministry of Finance on several occasions that it is difficult to pay salaries to the employees of these institutions in the face of the current economic crisis.

“Not only the salaries, even the employee EPF and ETF allowances have not been paid for two years. Therefore, 1,100 employees are about to resign voluntarily. We made a request to the Treasury to compensate them. But the Treasury rejected our request and informed us that if our institution has any assets, it could be sold to pay compensation.”

“Accordingly, we prepared a Cabinet paper through Minister Prasanna Ranatunga to sell a valuable land adjacent to the Peliyagoda Fish Market and compensate the employees.”

“The current value of this land has been determined by the Government Valuation Department as between Rs.9 billion and 10 billion. There is also a two-storied building that was built during the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, the construction was halted during the ‘Yahapalana’ Government and it has been abandoned now. If the building had been fully constructed, the value of this land would have increased even more.”

“Although President Ranil Wickremesinghe approved the Cabinet paper, the Lands Ministry Secretary informed us that it is not possible to implement the decision. This situation has become a major issue for us. Accordingly, following the intervention of Minister Ranatunga, the institution was taken over by the Ministry of Finance through a special gazette. This will be convenient for future activities,” he said.

Mr. Kalupahana said that a discussion will be held today (19) with Acting Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe and a group of senior officials of the Finance Ministry to discuss and find solutions to these pressing issues.

Source – Aruna

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IMF approves Sri Lanka program review

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The International Monetary Fund has approved a review of Sri Lanka’s program, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry has said.

On a X post, he has said, “This achievement is a testament to our dedication to driving forward economic reforms and securing a prosperous future for all Sri Lankans.”

According to the State Minister of Finance – Shehan Semasinghe, “a favorable outcome from the review is expected to unlock the 3rd tranche of approximately USD 330 million”.

The IMF had earlier said Sri Lanka had made “sufficient progress” on debt restructuring for a review on June 12, despite final deals pending with bilateral creditors and private creditors.

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Another probe related to Easter Sunday attacks

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the actions taken by the State Intelligence Service (SIS), Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), and other relevant authorities concerning prior intelligence received about the bomb attacks on April 21, 2019. This decision follows the findings of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry, dated January 31, 2021, which highlighted that Indian Intelligence agencies and other sources had provided advance warnings about the impending attacks.

The Committee of Inquiry will be chaired by Ms. A.N.J. De Alwis, Retired Judge of the High Court. Other esteemed members of the committee include SLAS special grade Officer Ms. K.N.K. Somaratne and Senior Lawyer Mr. W.M.A.N. Nishane, AAL. 

The committee’s mandate includes examining whether actions or measures were taken by the SIS, CNI, and other relevant authorities based on the prior information or intelligence on an impending attack on April 21, 2019 by Indian intelligence agencies and any other sources and if so, adequacy of the actions and measure taken by the SIS, CNI and other relevant authorities. 

Additionally, the committee will investigate the circumstances surrounding the Directorate of Military Intelligence’s (DMI) and Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) initial belief that the Vavunathivu killing of two police officers on November 30, 2018, was connected to the LTTE. This belief was held for four months before suspects with alleged links to the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) were identified.

A compact disk containing the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Bomb Attacks of April 21, 2019, has been provided to the committee. The President has authorized the committee to inquire relevant officials and examine pertinent documents to thoroughly investigate these matters.

Ms. Sarathanjali Manoharan, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President, will serve as the Secretary to the Committee of Inquiry. The committee is expected to submit its report, including findings and recommendations, to the President by September 15, 2024.

(President’s Media Division)

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New, free train ride for pilgrims visiting Mihintale (Video)

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Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena has said that a new short train ride between Anuradhapura and Mihintale will be arranged for pilgrims during the Poson season.

He said this at the Cabinet briefing held today (June 12) at the Government Information Department.

Since work on the Northern railway line have been delayed, 400 special buses will be deployed to Anuradhapura instead during the Poson season, he added.

Noting that a special railway line from Anuradhapura to Mihintale has been reconstructed,  the minister said that Sri Lanka Railways has been directed to arrange special, free train rides on this line for pilgrims.

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