rice imports in boiling pot
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake,
the man in the centre of many a PA-UNP battle, is facing opposition
charges regarding the import of rice from India and Pakistan.
He is in the
boiling pot, the main opposition PA says. But the minister dismissing
the charges says that every purchase the CWE or any other institution
that comes under his ministry makes has been properly documented
and there are no hanky-pankies.
While the opposition
and the Minister trade charges, about 10,000 tons of the controversial
import are still lying at CWE warehouses.
CWE Deputy Chairman Lal Wickrematunga, the sale of rice has been
slow and "if we are unable to sell them before August, the
remaining stocks won't be good enough for consumption."
over the rice import arose after President Kumaratunga at a recent
cabinet meeting accused Minister Ravi Karunanayake of violating
tender procedures in making purchases for the CWE.
in a subsequent cabinet meeting, is reported to have brought documents
to prove that the CWE purchases were in order.
with the minister's explanation, senior PA parliamentarian Anura
Bandaranaike has lodged a complaint with the Bribery and Corruption
Commission, alleging that the order for 40,000 metric tons of rice
was not given to the lowest bidders, violating tender procedures.
He also charged that the stocks were sold to traders at a very low
price, instead of selling them to people through CWE outlets.
the complaint, 16,000 tons of rice have been sold to traders at
Rs. 17 when the market price was around Rs. 30. Had the rice been
sold at Rs. 19 to the public, the CWE would have earned more, the
The tender from
Mark Fed, one of the lowest bidders, had been rejected and instead
16,500 metric tons from Nafed India, 2,500 metric tons from Garibson
Pakistan and 6,000 metric tons from M&P Limited from Pakistan
were imported, incurring a loss of US$ 340 per metric ton, Mr. Bandaranaike
deals and sales have created a loss to the government. Therefore,
under the Bribery and Corruption Act, Minister Karunanayake and
officials responsible for the import should answer these charges,"
Mr. Bandaranaike said.
But CWE deputy
chairman Wickrematunga said Mark Fed and other lowest bidders had
failed to meet the tender requirements including credit.
to the charge that the rice was sold at low prices, Mr. Wickrematunga
said the CWE had to take that decision because the rice was not
fast moving. "This was considered a good option when the rice
seems to expire in a few weeks," he said.
to the tender, he said that it was a decision taken by the tender
board consisting of officials from the Treasury and the Trade Ministry
officials and all bids were evaluated by a technical committee.
"It was not a personal decision by the Minister or by CWE officials,"
Peace education in schools makes
By Nilika de Silva
The UNESCO initiative of interweaving peace education
with the school curriculum took another step forward when principals,
teachers and educationists met this week to discuss how the subject
could be presented to students.
One of the
highlights of the meeting was the presentation of a UNESCO publication
on peace education.
offered their views on how the subject could best be taken to the
in India, "Learning the way of Peace", a teacher's guide
to peace education, is aimed at internalising the peace element
in the education process, UNESCO regional officer Prithiviraj Perera
A.S. Balasooriya, who was instrumental in producing the publication
said, "Peace is the greatest integrating factor".
the secretary general, Sri Lankan National Commission for UNESCO,
commenting on the presentation said, "Since wars begin in the
minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace
must be constructed."
importance of the teacher in peace education, I.L. Ginige, Assistant
Director General of the National Institute of Education said, "Without
developing the teachers, if we get the teachers to implement this
it will not be a success".
Vice Chancellor Balasunderampillai stressed that there was inbuilt
jealousy being created through the education system. "We have
to discuss the ground realities that place constraints on teaching
also acknowledged that Sri Lanka had already introduced peace education
as a formal subject which was being taught in grades 7- 9.
stressed the importance of giving priority to human Rights, media
freedom, and peace education in any peace accord.
publication was launched in Sri Lanka in May when UNESCO Director
General Koichiro Matsuura visited here.
brought out by UNESCO New Delhi, comes with inputs provided by educationists,
intellectuals and resource persons from South Asia. It was based
on presentations made at a UNESCO Regional Seminar in Colombo in
January last year.
20 chapters and running into 240 pages, the teachers guide is divided
into four parts dealing with the nature and concept of peace education,
peace values in school curricula, developing peace education staff
and reducing violence in school. It also discusses thematic models
of peace education.
The guide targets
the teacher as a peace educator, by way of an integrated and holistic
approach in all subjects taught in schools and teacher education
is first expected to be tested in South Asian countries that took
part in the seminar and then to be introduced among other countries
within the context of the International Decade for a Culture of
Peace and Non Violence for the Children of the World.
to launch strike, demanding wage hike
Workers Congress (CWC) is preparing for a major strike in the estate
sector from Thursday demanding a wage increase.
with the employer's federation have failed. We are turning to trade
union action from August 1 until the wage increase demand is met,"
CWC parliamentarian P Yogarajan said.
comes amidst moves by plantation companies to announce a new agreement
that have been rejected by the CWC.
the daily wage of an estate worker is Rs.116. The plantation companies
propose a two year agreement with the all-inclusive daily wage being
fixed at Rs.142 in the first year and 146 in the second year.
the proposed wage increase on the cost of production of a kilogram
of tea in the first year will be about Rs.7.50 on an average and
with gratuity provision it could increase to as much as Rs.12, plantation
companies said adding that this could increase the price of tea.
unions are yet to agree on the proposed agreement.
Minister Lakshman Kiriella told The Sunday Times that plantation
workers did not get any wage increase for the past two years and
that the wage increase should be decided by collective agreements
between the plantation companies and the trade unions.
He said that
earlier collective agreement that had been signed by both parties
ended this month and the ministry, which was acting like a mediator,
wanted the plantation companies and the trade unions to come amicable
settlement. Minister Kiriella said that wages to the plantation
workers should be increased and at the same time, the plantation
companies too need to be viable to the overall national economy.
He stressed the need for the enhancement of relationship between
the plantation companies and trade unions like in India.
conducts raids on illicit power tappers
Sinniah Gurunathan, Trincomalee corr.
A record 755,000 rupees was collected on a single day
as fines from 152 residents when they were found illegally using
electricity in several areas of Trincomalee.
assisted by police swooped down on Tampalakamam, Kinniya, Soorankal
and Alankerni at night for lightning raids when the people were
watching TV on illicitly tapped electricity.
The chief householders,
mainly women, were produced in courts and fined Rs. 5,000 each.
illicit tapping was growing on a massive scale and at least ten
residents were known to have been electrocuted while fixing the