ready to counter sabotage
Perera and Harinda Vidanage
The organisers of the Opposition alliance demonstration
to be held on Monday are preparing tough counter measures to cope
with what they say is planned government sponsored sabotage of the
mass demonstration parade and rally.
of the rally titled 'The Peoples Power', Anura Bandaranaike
told The Sunday Times that they are well aware of pre-planned sabotage
efforts directed by a powerful minister in the UNF who was a former
said that they have organized a special legal team comprising top
lawyers from all the parties who are taking part in the rally to
assess the possible threats and devise legal solutions for any damaging
incidents initiated by sabotage.
A special team
of organisers will be stationed at intervals of hundred metres throughout
the procession to identify potential trouble makers who may be planted
and to look out for any damaging acts.
He said a special
unit will be stationed at Presidents House to coordinate with
the security forces, mainly to boost the safety of the participants
of the rally while he himself had spoken to the IGP regarding the
Even the slogans
to be chanted at the rally have been published and sent to the procession
organisers of the SLFP and nothing outside these given slogans can
be chanted, sources said.
told The Sunday Times that no slogan or banner can be depicted of
any person of the party as this is a total effort to promote the
developing alliance with the JVP.
include Defeat the green tiger that betrayed the country
and Need a good government, need a honest government and dont
need a government that feeds the Tigers, while a major slogan
will be We need an alliance, an alliance that tells the truth
and an alliance that will not betray the country.
Mr. Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, a chief organiser of this event, a
special media unit will be set up in the late Prime Minister Mrs.
Bandaranaikes house at Rosmead Place to coordinate the whole
operation. In addition, a special mobile media unit will be set
up to take all journalists including the foreign media to cover
all sections of the demonstration.
Mr. Wimal Weerawansa
said that his party is also aware of conspiracy attempts by the
government but the sheer magnitude of this demonstration will undo
any government efforts, he said.
roads in Colombo will be closed for traffic from 1.00 p.m. with
more than 2000 police personnel deployed.
the police the route taken by the protestors will be closed for
traffic while several other roads will be closed once the crowd
gets closer to the venue.
Mawatha leading from Maradana to Baseline Road, Borella junction
to Maradana and Deans Road will be closed once the protest march
also said Dharmapala Mawatha, C.W.W. Kannangara Mawatha and Ananda
Coomaraswamy Mawatha will be closed for traffic as buses bringing
protestors will be parked there.
The joint opposition
procession comprising the SLFP, JVP, MEP and NUA is scheduled to
commence around 1.00 p.m. from Campbell Place and converge on the
Town Hall for the public meeting.
With an estimated
crowd of about one million people coming to the city, security has
been tightened with several roads being closed on the route to the
venue of the meeting.
John Ameratunga told The Sunday Times that he has directed the IGP
to tighten security in the event of protestors getting involved
in mischief and arson.
are reports that the crowd will get unruly. I have instructed the
IGP to take maximum security in this regard. Protestors will not
be allowed to divert from the route they have been assigned"
The joint Opposition
rally protesting against the peace process is calling on the Government
to put a stop to the destruction of the country or else it will
get together and defeat the Government.
and organiser of the protest Anura Bandaranaike said the LTTE is
dividing the country on the pretext of talking peace.
LTTE is recruiting children forcibly and not only the government
but also the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission is helpless in the matter.
The LTTE also
has a hold on several political parties and is not allowing them
to carry out their activities" he said.
super highway project starts today
Work on Sri
Lanka's first super highway, the Colombo-Matara Expressway starts
this afternoon with the foundation stone laying ceremony at Nayapamula,
is to run for 127 km between Godagama in the Matara district and
Kottawa in the Colombo district.
This US $ 25
billion project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (US $ 8
billion) and the Japan Bank for International Corporation (US $
13 billion), while the Sri Lankan government proposes to provide
US $ 4 billion. The stretch between Matara and Kurundugahahetekma
will be funded by the ADB while the stretch between Kurundugahahetekma
and Kottawa will be funded by the JBIC.
has been awarded to the Japanese company Kumagai Gumi.
There will be
several inter-changes on the expressway at Kottawa, Kahatuduwa,
Gelanigama, Walahanduwa, Kurundugahahetekma, Baddegama, Pinnaduwa,
Kotmaduwa, and Matara. The RDA states that these villages will be
developed as new sub towns and many trade and production opportunities
will grow alongside the expressway.
that once the project is completed the trip to Matara can be made
in 1 hour and 45 minutes and with possible changes in speed limits
even in a shorter period.
It would then
be possible for workers to commute daily to Colombo from Matara,
while milk products, vegetables and fish can be rapidly transported
to Colombo from the Southern Province.
phase in the construction will be increasing the number of lanes
on the expressway. While land acquisition has already taken place
for this, Additional Secretary Ministry of Highways, Mr. K. A. Samarasekera
told The Sunday Times that the construction of these lanes will
take place in due course. Although the expressway is to be six lanes
at completion, initially there will be only four lanes between Kottawa
and Kurundugahahetekma and two lanes between Kurundugahahetekma
stone was laid at Godagama, Matara by the Peoples Alliance in 1996
to commence work on this project but it failed to get off the ground
due to delays in land acquisition.
As land acquisition
continued to be a considerable problem the RDA was forced to come
up with a more tempting compensation package.
up of hazardous cargo revealed
More evidence has emerged this week on how the company
involved in the controversy over the consignment of hazardous material
left in the Colombo port made an attempt to cover up the issue.
that the port officials had been misguided and had failed to follow
basic instructions regarding the discharge of the cargo.
Over the weekend
the contaminated containers were being checked and chemically treated
amidst an assurance from the shipping company that they would be
At a press
conference on Thursday, Green Lanka Shipping Ltd, the local agent
of the shipping company strongly denied allegations on the issue,
but failed to provide adequate answers to questions raised by journalists.
denied that the chemical known as 'oxime carbamate' found in one
of the containers was highly dangerous, despite environmentalists
claiming it was so.
It has been
revealed that two different cargo handling declarations had been
submitted to the Colombo Port. The first one made no mention of
'oxime carbamate' and merely declared the cargo as 'general'.
company officials said it was 'a mistake'.
The legal officer
of Green Lanka denied all health hazards caused by this chemical.
He said that no cases had been reported to them to date and that
the health authorities had also confirmed that there are no victims,
but Health minister P.Dayaratne told The Sunday Times that there
were victims from the Sedawatte area where the containers had been
stored after being removed from the Colombo port.
the claim made by the company the Harbour Master of the Colombo
port had written to the shipping company stating 'As you are aware
that the content of the said container has caused a health hazard
to the workers engaged in discharging same with affected containers
and no safety data being lodged as yet, it is advisable to get the
assistance of local authorities viz., CISIR, CEA, Govt. Analyst
and AEA who could identify the constituent in question. Hence please
make necessary proceedings in this regard soon'.
deputy Director General of the CEA confirmed that the cargo should
be re-exported very soon.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Rukman Senanayake had
also obtained Cabinet approval to probe into the incident and accused
the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) of "having acted on its
own without consulting the relevant government authorities in discharging
In a proposal
put forward to the Cabinet the Minister had also suggested the appointment
of an inter-ministerial committee. The proposed committee comprises
of high-ranking officials of the Environment Ministry, CEA, SLPA,
Marine Pollution Prevention Authority, CISIR (ITI), Atomic Energy
Authority, Government Analyst's Department, Commissioner General
of Customs, Registrar of Pesticides and the Controller of Imports
and Exports. This committee is expected to submit its report to
the Cabinet within two weeks of its establishment.
are raising questions as to how the committee can really probe into
this incident if the containers have been re-exported.
Green Lanka some 20 containers had been cleaned and inspected by
relevant authorities and are scheduled to leave this weekend while
the rest will soon follow.
Foundation Limited (EFL) who filed a petition on Friday in the Colombo
Magistrate's court against the CEA, SLPA and the Sri Lanka Customs
on this issue said it was not satisfied with the manner in which
the containers had been checked and cleaned.
washed and inspected are selected by the company. If they are so
sure why don't they let us select the containers', questioned Mr.
Ravindranath Dabare, Legal Officer, EFL.
officials to agitate for allowances
Prison officials are planning to agitate for the payment
of risk and health allowances and the implementation of a promotion
scheme, a prison official said.
complain that they are faced with a health risk since some prisoners
who have been drug addicts are afflicted with tuberculosis and other
infectious diseases. They also fear for their lives as they face
threats from hard-core prisoners with underworld connections, the
official told the Sunday Times. "The Prisons Department promotion
scheme should also be regularized to create more opportunities for
junior officers to rise to higher grades. A scheme should also be
implemented to reward officers who serve honestly and courageously,"
an officer said.
of prison officers are not on par with salaries being paid to police
officers. The salaries of prison officers were on par with their
counterparts in the Police Department in the past. However, the
salaries of police officers have been revised on many occasions
while our salary scales have remained static for a long time,"
the officer complained.
said that they plan to hold discussions with the Minister of Interior,
John Amaratunge shortly with a view to resolving this problem amicably,
without resorting to harsh action.
responding to the proposed agitational campaign said that these
demands would be considered carefully to ensure that the aggrieved
prison officials receive a fair deal.