Small parts of what were once lush tea plantations in the Nuwara Eliya District — that earned a worldwide reputation for its high grown quality tea — may now become garbage dumps. Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake has proposed four hectares from tea estates managed by two private firms be taken over for use as [...]


Garbage ‘pekoe’ at two tea estates in Nuwara Eliya district


Small parts of what were once lush tea plantations in the Nuwara Eliya District — that earned a worldwide reputation for its high grown quality tea — may now become garbage dumps.

Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake has proposed four hectares from tea estates managed by two private firms be taken over for use as garbage dumps in the Nuwara Eliya District.One such dump at Hatton is to be from tea estates managed by the Watawala Plantations PLC and the other from a Nanu Oya estate managed by the Kelani Valley Plantations.

Minister Dissanayake has said that garbage is not handled properly in Nuwara Eliya District and has posed many health hazards. It is also threatening the environment of the areas in the district which is a popular attraction of both foreign and domestic tourists.
At their weekly meeting last Tuesday, Ministers discussed Minister Dissanayake’s proposal but deferred any decision on it. This is notwithstanding an official announcement that the proposal has been approved, a senior minister said yesterday.

Mr. Dissanayake has said a number of discussions were held by him with regional plantation companies. He has said that since waste management comes within the purview of the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, his Ministry has had joint discussions with that ministry also.

He has recommended that the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government should invite Expression of Interest (EOI) from the institutions that are implementing the waste management programmes. Minister Dissanayake has also recommended a similar programme in the Badulla District.

The new proposal comes amidst the pile up of garbage along roads in the Colombo city, Kotte and Mount Lavinia areas.
It was only last Tuesday that the Government gave approval for an allocation of Rs. 100 million from the Treasury to the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government for the disposal of garbage accumulated in certain areas due to heavy rains and the resultant floods.

Selfie girls cause train havoc
Taking selfies with their smart phones has led to the deaths of a number of Sri Lankans. The latest episodes occurred when two brothers chose the railway track. An approaching train brought them death.Railway authorities have become alert to the threat, so much so a guard in a train figured in a hilarious encounter. This was on a train from Colombo to Polgahawela.

He noticed two young girls taking selfies from the entry/exit door of the train. The guard noticed that they alighted at the Kelaniya Railway Station. The guard, waving a red flag, got down from the train and walked towards the two girls. Alas, the train pulled up and was soon speeding towards the next station.

The guard, without pursuing the girls, chased the train. He was not successful. The train had reached two more stations when the engine driver received a message that he had left behind the guard. So the train had to reverse all the way to Kelaniya to pick up the guard.

Defence complex only for defence
There will be no other state institutions housed in the new Defence Headquarters Complex that is now under construction at Akuregoda, about two kilometres from the Parliament complex, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided.
The Cabinet took this decision after a Committee recommended that it would be inappropriate to house other Government offices at the defence complex.

New Delhi land for Vihara and cultural centre
The Government has sought the help of the India Government to obtain suitable land in New Delhi for two different projects.
One is the setting up of a Stupa and a Sri Lanka Buddhist Vihara in New Delhi. The other is the establishment of a Sri Lanka Cultural Centre.
The new moves come as the Government has decided to assist in the setting up of a Sinhala Language Teaching Cell at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in India.

Ten new Majors General
Ten Brigadiers have been promoted to the rank of Majors General by Army Headquarters.
Five of them whose promotions take effect from March 30 are Brigadiers H.R.N. Fernando, A.L.S.K. Perera, M.M.S. Perera, G.I.L. Waduge and A. A. Kodippily.

The remaining five are Brigadier G.V. Ravipriya (from April 2), G.J.A.W. Galagamage (April 16), D.A.R. Ranawaka (April 22), D.M.S. Dissanayake (May 19) and A.M.R. Dharmasiri (June 6).

Mangala’s first official visit
The first official visit for new Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera was to South Korea to attend the meeting of the board of directors of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
He left on Wednesday. The meeting of the bank, an initiative of China, is taking place in the South Korean capital Seoul.


Surprise garbage collector
Pilgrims who were in Mihintale for the Poson Poya were surprised to see a familiar figure heading a group who were cleaning up garbage – plastic bottles, used food packets and similar items.It turned out that it was former minister Mervyn Silva.

Chola chair for PC official
A top Provincial Council official has developed a penchant for carved chairs.
After using two different ones, both ornately carved, the official has now ordered a third one.
That new chair, yet to be delivered by the furniture dealer, has more intricate carvings and is a replica of a type that was used by Kings of the Chola kingdom.

Spat over ministry secretaries
Two of the newly appointed ministry secretaries, among those named after their predecessors retired, are unable to take their new postings so far.Official sources say the ministers in charge of those portfolios have sought changes on the grounds that the two are “not compatible.”


Malwana mystery land for police academy, judicial training centre
A Justice Ministry proposal to take over more than 16 acres of land in Malwana to set up a Police Academy and a Judicial Training Centre is now being examined by the Government.

If accepted, the move may see a situation where little compensation would have to be paid to the alleged owners. This is on the grounds that the building on the property worth more than Rs. 207 million, on a valuation by the Government Valuer, has reportedly been constructed without the approval of the local authority of the area.

An auction of the land and property was fixed for March 29. In fact the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) placed advertisements in the media for this purpose. However, Additional District Judge Nilpuli Lankapura held that there was no legal provision to dispose of any property or production until a court case is completed. Later, the Attorney General sought the revocation of the auction and the Court considering the application, withdrew the initial order for public auction.

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has now proposed that four acres of land from this property be given to the Judicial Training Centre and the remaining portion to the Ministry of Law and Order, under whom the Police Department is assigned.

The land and a house under construction allegedly belonged to former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He has, however, denied ownership and a court case is now under way at the Pugoda Magistrate’s Court.

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