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PUCSL Chairman refuses to quit

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The Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Janaka Ratnayake launched a scathing attack on “stupid politicians” saying they were responsible for the power crisis in Sri Lanka.

He also said that the developing situation in the country has forced him to consider entering politics.

Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera is pushing for the removal of Ratnayake after he had refused to back the electricity tariff hike, but Ratnayake told Daily Mirror he will not quit.

He also expressed confidence that the proposal will not receive the 113 majority it requires in Parliament for him to be removed.

In an interview on the programme ‘On Fire with Easwaran Rutnam’ Ratnayake said that the electricity tariff hike and the contraction of the economy has resulted in the demand for electricity dropping drastically. He said the drop in demand would not help the loss-making Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) which is attempting to recover its losses through the tariff hike.

“These are the basic things that these stupid politicians do not understand.they do not understand economics, they do not understand accountancy.they know only politics,and I think the present politicians don’t even know how to play politics,” he said.

Ratnayake said that a decision taken in 2014 to reduce the cost of electricity by 25 per cent was also another “stupid, ignorant” move by politicians. The PUCSL Chairman also said that the benefit of the current improvement in the exchange rate and the drop in the cost of raw materials should be passed on to the consumers.

As a result, he had requested the CEB to submit a proposal to reduce the electricity tariffs.

However, he says the CEB has responded saying that another revision is likely and that it could even be another increase in tariffs. Ratnayake claimed mismanagement has resulted in the CEB continuing to incur losses and being unable to cover its costs even with the last tariff increase.

Meanwhile, Ratnayake, who had backed Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the presidency, said he now regrets the decision adding that the former President had “no common sense”.

(dailymirror.lk)

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SLFP to support no-confidence motion against the Speaker

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The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has announced its endorsement of the no-confidence motion to be brought against the Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Accordingly, the SLFP announced that it will support the motion being brought against the Speaker by the opposition, and will vote in favour of it.

On Monday (26 Feb.), several Opposition members, led by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa, signed a motion of no confidence against the Speaker, claiming that he had violated the Constitution.

As such, a group of MPs belonging to the opposition in Parliament including M. A. Sumanthiran, Lakshman Kiriella, Prof. G. L. Pieris, Tissa Attanayake, Chandima Weerakkody and Shan Wijayalal de Silva, had inked the motion for approving the much-disputed Online Safety Bill amidst ‘irregular procedures’.

The no-confidence motion pointed out that the Speaker had ignored the Supreme Court’s recommendations pertaining to Sections 13, 17, 20, 33 (6), 34 (1), 35 (1), 21, 22 and 33 of the Online Safety Bill.

Earlier this month, Opposition Leader charged that the Speaker had ignored nine recommendations given by the Supreme Court while enacting the Online Safety Act, adding that they no longer have faith in him.

(adaderana.lk)

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School outdoor activities suspended over soaring temperatures

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The Education Ministry has instructed all respective school authorities to refrain from making students participate in strenuous outdoor activities until Friday (March 01) at schools as temperatures are expected to rise further.

Accordingly, Sports Day events, sports practices or any other scheduled outdoor activities are urged to be suspended for the time being.

Provincial and zonal authorities of education have been instructed to brief school principals about the matter, the ministry said in a press release.

In addition, school administrations are required to comply with the health guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry.

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Court suspends divestiture process of SLT & Lanka Hospitals

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The Court of Appeal yesterday (27) issued an interim order preventing authorities from proceeding with the divestiture process of Sri Lanka Telecom and Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC, until March 12.

Three Petitions were filed for Sri Lanka Telecom PLC including by Lyca Mobiles, and S.M.R. M company, while two petitions were filed for Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC including by Lyca Leasing Holdings.

Upon the oral submissions made by President’s Counsel Kuvera De Zoysa, Court of Appeal Justice D.N. Samarakoon issued notices on respondents, returnable for March 12.

The petitioners named Minister of Finance Ranil Wickremesinghe, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, the members of the special Cabinet-appointed negotiating committee for the purpose of selecting pre-qualified bidders for the strategic divestiture pertaining to 51.34% shares of Lanka Hospitals PLC and several others as respondents.

Kuvera De Zoysa, PC with Raslka Dissanayake, Sajana de Zoysa, Dinusha Pathirana and Shablr Huzalr instructed by Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the petitioners.

The petitioners had informed the court that they had submitted bids per the required criteria for the divestiture of the Sri Lankan Government’s shares of 50.23% in Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and 51.34% in Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC.

The petitioners alleged that, however, the Cabinet of Ministers had rejected the bids without providing any clear explanations, adding that the decision was against the law.

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