ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 46

Odds and Ends

He is no retired absent minded professor, but a full time serving prof. The man’s faculties are working in overdrive. His ambition and greed is such he is one who can literally run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. Now he has been caught playing a double game with a highly controversial project.

On the one hand he is in a technical committee evaluating the EIA submitted for this project and on the other had submitted ‘useful’ information from around the world on why the project can go ahead with his signature, to the project’s proponent.

The short village may have been rightly caught out this time for he had sent the information with a covering letter from the Department of his university. Environmentalists say the bird man may be ready to sell out the birds, but luckily for them a wild man is sticking to his guns.

He is an additional sec. to a powerful man, but can you imagine him putting up a storeyed palace down girigoris way on more than one eighth of an acre in this time of astronomical building costs. They call him the Collector. No wonder!

A.P.A. de Vass Gunawardena, avowed Trotskyite to this day finally assumed duties as the new chairman of the highly profitable, yet troubled National Lotteries Board on Thursday almost a month after he was selected for the post. Unlike his flamboyant son Sajin, the Vass senior is a very sober man.

When NLB officials sounded the man about having a welcoming ceremony to receive him on his first day in office he had politely turned it down saying that it should be limited to handing him a traditional sheaf of betel on arrival and that was all the ceremony he got. The man in his time has headed numerous state institutions like the SLPA, BOI and prior to assuming duties at the NLB, he was the Chairman of the Lankaputra Bank, but never has he courted controversy. By the way his predecessor at NLB, Upali Liyanage, who earlier had to field some embarrassing audit queries prior to his removal, is now tipped to takeover as Chairman of the Development Lotteries Board. Incumbent DLB Chairman Sarana Gunawardena, who will succeed late Anura Bandaranaike in Parliament, however is not expected to take his oaths till May 8, which is said to be the most auspicious day for him to enter Parliament.

It is a gloomy New Year for the managerial staff of the troubled state owned budget airline Mihin Lanka as their March salaries had not been credited to their accounts even up to yesterday.

While the airline is running up a massive debt running to billions of rupees, its CEO, according to employees is living it up in style. On Tuesday evening he even flew to China to be with the President.

A large stock of used ground handling equipment that the airline got down in haste last month on a lease basis continues to idle at the BIA and it is costing the airline more than US$200,000 a month in lease rental. Similarly two brand new buses that it got down in a hurry too are gathering dust at the airport.

It had failed to realize that since the Airport and Aviation Services Ltd provides way bridges between the terminal and the planes landing at BIA there is no necessity to have step ladders and buses to ferry passengers to/from aircraft.

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