Children of NE to be immunised against polio
By Faraza Farook
An Immunisation camp will be held in the North and East mainly as a precautionary measure to prevent the outbreak of polio due to the recent movement of people from India and other areas.

The first round will be held on the 28 of September and the second on the 26 of October, Epidemiological Unit Director Dr. T.A. Kulatillake said all children under five years are expected to be vaccinated.

This programme being conducted jointly by the Epidemiological Unit and the UNICEF is expected to cover about 300,000 children in the North and East.

Though since 1993, no cases of polio have been reported the North and East has been identified as a high-risk area, due to the recent inflow of people from India raising concerns of a possible outbreak of the disease.

Revenue Authority: A step towards privatisation
By Tania Fernando
The Revenue Management Advisory Council has handed over to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance a working draft for the formation of a Revenue Authority.

The Council was created after the last budget for the purpose of establishing a Revenue Authority (RA) with a mandate to revamp three major revenue-collecting departments, namely, Customs, Inland Revenue and the Excise Department.

However, the Trade Unions of the Customs Department claim that the formation of a Revenue Authority is a first step towards privatising the department resulting in loss of employment.

The unions claim that this move had been made without any discussions with them, nor has proper information been given regarding its functions.

According to trade union sources the establishment of the RA, will repeal the existing Customs Ordinance, the Excise and the Inland Revenue Act, which for so long has been the basis of revenue for the state. "Though the Authority would consist of seven representatives from the business community and three former heads of the particular department the government as such would have no control over its functions", a trade unionist said.

However, an official of the Authority said that the structure of the RA has not been finalised and its purpose was not to harass the tax payer, but to act as a mechanism to rope in tax evaders and ensure the prompt payment of taxes.

The official went on to say that it was also not the intention of the Council to make any adverse changes to the existing salary structure nor to the other perks presently enjoyed by the staff.

Supreme court reserves order on fundamental rights application
Supreme Court this week reserved judgement on a fundamental rights violation application against the Mount Lavinia police personnel filed by an Electrical Superintendent of the Ceylon Electricity Board.

Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Shirani A. Bandaranayake and P.Edussuriya.

Electrical Superintendent D.P.Amarasena along with L.M.Jayantha Kumara in his application cited Mount Lavinia Police Intelligence Unit OIC Inspector Jayaratnam, Sergeant Ediriweera, Constable A.Ajith Vasantha, Crime Branch OIC Inspector Weerakoon and the Attorney General as respondents.

On Saturday May 4, Amarasena and Kumara had parked their vehicle near the Ratmalana Telecom Office. Amarasena was intent on getting to the billing centre before closing time, at 1 p.m.

When walking towards the gate of the Telecom, a trishaw with three persons in civils heading towards Moratuwa slowed down besides him and the driver of the trishaw raising his voice asked him whether he signalled before parking. Amarasena answered saying he did and continued to walk.

Before he could reach the gate some one grabbed him by his shirt collar and allegedly punched him in the head and another blow allegedly by Sergeant Ediriweera landed on his face. As all those in the trishaw were in civils, he wondered whether this was an attempt to rob his vehicle.

Sgt Ediriweera was allegedly holding his hands thus preventing him from defending himself. Amarasena had bitten Sgt Ediriweera's ear in an attempt to free himself. At that moment Inspector Jayaratnam and Constable Vasantha had rushed to the scene and allegedly assaulted the petitioners.

None of them being in uniform and there was no indication of their identity. Amarasena requested for their identity cards. Inspector Jayaratnam had then allegedly turned and assaulted them questioning as to whether police officers should produce identity cards before taking people into custody. Then Amarasena and Kumara were pushed into the trishaw, forced them to leave their vehicle behind. They were taken to the Mount Lavinia police station and when they were entering the police station, Inspector Jayaratnam announced aloud that "A Tyson has been brought.'

Supreme Court had already granted leave to proceed in respect of the alleged infringement of freedom from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention.

Helpage, first NGO to open an eye hospital
Helpage Sri Lanka well known for the services it provides elders in the community is the first non governmental organisation in Sri Lanka to start a fully equipped eye hospital with surgical facilities. This service would be provided free of charge, to low income groups.

The hospital was set up at a cost of around 3.8 million rupees and well equipped to handle cataract surgery said Ms. J Gunawardena, head of the eye care unit. She said they intend performing about 10 operations each day, 5 days a week totalling to nearly 200 operations a month.

Ms. Gunawardena said patients from various parts of the country, identified to be suffering from cataract will be directed to this hospital through Helpage eye camps.

Patients could also contact the hospital directly for surgery, she said.

The hospital would be located at Nugegoda in a building donated by Doctor Bernard Soysa in memory of his daughter Doctor Akshika Soysa, who met a tragic death.

The hospital is scheduled to be declared open next Wednesday, by Health Minister, P. Dayaratne

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