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President’s House & Temple Trees to be moved out to Kotte

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The President’s House, the Secretariat, and the Prime Minister’s official residence Temple Trees have been earmarked to be moved out of Colombo city to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte and may be kept open only as a tourist attraction.

Urban Development Authority (UDA) Director General Prasad Ranaweera told that on the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe,  they were looking for alternative land in the Sri Jaywardenapura-Kotte area to have the administrative complex in one location.

He said that after the identification of the location they hoped to report back to the President to draw out plans for a phased shift of the buildings.

Under a proposed ‘New Colombo Heritage City Plan’, the President’s House, the Secretariat and the Temple Trees building and the Prime Minister’s office on Flower Road are likely to be protected as tourist attractions.

Under the plan, a string of other buildings in Colombo city are to be re-offered for lease to investors.

Accordingly, the General Post Office, the Foreign Ministry building, Police Headquarters, Air Force Headquarters, Navy Headquarters, Visumpaya, Shrvasthi (former MP’s hostel), the Gafoor building, the Irrigation Department building at Jawatte Road, the Welikada Prisons and the old Defence Ministry building at Galle Face have been identified to be leased out.

He said the objective was to lease out the buildings for boutique hotels where the investors would be able to renovate the building while preserving its original identity.

Mr. Ranaweera said they would be looking at leasing out the buildings for more than 30 years with concessionary terms on taxes.

He said that under the Heritage City Plan, they also hoped to have a sheltered corridor between the Gafoor building and the Port City so that the people could make use of the passage.

He said the President had instructed the UDA itself to carry out some of the development activities and hand them over to the investors to avoid delays and issues in acquiring lands.

Urban Development Prasanna Ranatunga Minister told the Sunday Times discussions had begun with potential investors and among them had been investors from Georgia.  He said all measures would be taken to preserve the identity of the old buildings.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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President apologizes over compulsory cremations during Covid-19 pandemic

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has apologized for making cremation compulsory during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During this time there was a lot of pain, mainly felt not only by the Muslims, but also Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, I know who also prefer burial,” President Wickremesinghe said in Parliament.

He said that a committee appointed to look into the matter at the time had recommended cremation, a decision which was upheld by the Supreme Court as well. So, that had to be followed. There was no other alternative during that time, he said.

He assured that Sri Lanka will bring in a law that will allow the right of burial, right of cremation or gifting one’s body to medical institutions.

(Excerpts : dailymirror.lk)

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Postage stamp to be increased to Rs. 100 in July

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A proposal has been made to increase the price of an ordinary postage stamp to Rs. 100 by July, Mass Media Ministry Secretary Anusha Palpita said.

He told the Daily Mirror that the Postal Department is currently incurring an annual loss of Rs. 7,000 million.

“Last year, the loss was reduced to Rs. 3,200 million. However, with a salary increase for postal employees costing Rs. 2,800 million this year, the Postal Department’s loss will rise again to Rs. 7,000 million.” he said.

“If the losses continue to increase, it might reach Rs. 5 billion by 2025. Less than 1.5 million people use postage stamps, yet the entire country bears the burden of the Postal Department’s losses,” he added.

The price of a stamp was Rs. 15 until 2022, and the current price is Rs. 50.

“We are awaiting approval from the Treasury to raise the price of a postage stamp. This decision is necessary due to the ongoing losses of the Postal Department,” Palpita said.

(dailymirror.lk)

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

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SL health officials urge public not to panic over flesh-eating bacteria

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Sri Lankan health authorities have urged the public not to panic about the spread of Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS), or commonly known as ‘flesh-eating bacteria’.

Surging numbers of STSS cases across Japan have raised alarm globally.

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