Law to set up authority to administer five councils in Colombo district ready: Basil

By Damith Wickremasekara

Legislation to set up an authority to administer five local councils in the Colombo district including three municipalities will be passed and implemented before the end of the year, Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa told the Sunday Times.

He said cabinet approval had already been obtained and necessary legislation drafted. The suthority will be set up to administer the Colombo, Kotte and Dehiwala-Mt Lavina municipal councils, the Kolonnawa Urban Council and the Kotikawatte-Mulleriywa Pradeshiya Sabhawa.

“Most local councils do not have persons who have the necessary technical expertise to carry out development activities, particularly when it involves major development projects. The main aim of setting up this authority is to over come this difficulty,” the minister said.

He said the authority to be set up would be similar to the Urban Development Authority and it would step in to expedite development activities in the metropolis. “This will not pose any hindrance to the local council members in carrying out their duties,” Minister Rajapaksa said.

He said the main responsibility of local councils was to ensure sanitation facilities and collection of garbage. Mr. Rajapaska said the bill would be presented in parliament soon after the November budget.

Contractors in Badulla stop cement sales

By Palitha Ariyawansa

Contractors in Badulla have decided to stop cement sales as the existing prices are unfavourable, said W.L. Gamini, President of the Building Constructors’ Association in the district. Unlike in Colombo, transport charges are high and the trade has become hazardous as extra quotas take a long time to reach Badulla, said Mr. Gamini.

Traders in Bandarawela, Haputale and Haliela have also suspended sales. Selling above the controlled prices entails risks, they observed. The situation has stalled construction work in the area.

Mahanayake apprises President of illegal land holdings of religious organisations

By L.B. Senaratne

Asgiri Mahanayake Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakitha Thera handed over a memorandum regarding Vihare and Devale Lands to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Janadipathi Mandiriya.

The Thera told the President that some of the lands belonging to religious organisations are held by unauthorised people and have even been divided among others, while some have been sold.
Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela also mentioned this fact in his address to the President on Sunday.

Thera arrested in alleged sex abuse case

As the case does not come under his jurisdiction, Colombo Additional Magistrate Tikiri Jayatilake yesterday ordered the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to produce, before the Anuradhapura Magistrate, the Chief Incumbent of the Mihintale Rajamaha Vihara, Ven. Namalwewa Rathanasara Thera who was charged with alleged sexual abuse of a minor.

The Thera was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport by the CID upon arrival in the country from Singapore yesterday. According to police, the monk was accused of molesting a 13 year-old girl at the vihara premises over a period of one year. The girl is presently undergoing a medical examination.
On August 12, the Anuradhapura Chief Magistrate Darshika Wimalasiri ordered the arrest of the Ven. Rathanasara Thera.

Anil Silva, PC with attorneys-at-law Niroshan Perea and Chandika Peiris appeared for the Thera.

Hit-and-run reckless Navy men kill 1, injure another

By Hiran Priyankara Jayasinghe

A speeding Navy vehicle on Friday rammed into a motorcycle ridden by two young women, killing one of them on the spot in the Vanathavilluwa area in the Puttalam district drawing angry protests from the villagers.

The Navy vehicle was alleged to have sped away after the incident, and was given chase by police before they were brought back to the scene of the accident.Nearby residents numbering nearly 1000 stormed the nearby Navy camp and vehemently protested, venting their anger over the incident.

The deceased woman was identified as 21-year-old Harshini while the other was identified as M.M. Niluka who suffered injuries and was admitted to Puttalam hospital.

The Navy vehicle was said to have attempted to overtake the cyclists at high speed when the accident occurred, according to M.B. Yasomenika, 70, an eyewitness. Villagers complained that the Navy was noted for previous accidents and were not mindful of other road users.

They singled out the Navy as reckless culprits of many bad records before them, unlike the police and army who have always been kind to the people here. Another eyewitness, A. Jayalath was also critical of the Navy men who are noted for their careless driving and their unwillingness to take responsibility, even after an accident, as was seen in this instance. The post mortem of the deceased was due to take place last evening.

Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL)

Five life members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) were conferred with Emeritus status 'Honoris Causa' recently. They were, T.G. Goonaratne, Ranjith Abeysuriya PC, N.R.M. Daluwatte PC, Ananda Wijesekara PC and Romesh De Silva PC. Seated from left are T.G. Goonaratne, Ranjith Abeysuriya PC, Shibly Aziz PC (President of BASL), N.R.M.Daluwatte PC, Ananda Wijesekare PC.
Standing from left are Athula Perera (Treasurer of BASL), Mahinda B.K.Lokuge (Secretary), Rohan Sahabandu (Deputy President), Chathura Galhena (Asst.Secretary)
Romesh De Silva PC was not present when the picture was taken.
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