News in brief

Special Committee to discuss votes of 21 Ministries
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa will name members to a special committee of Parliament that is being set up to discuss the votes of 21 ministries during the committee stage of the Budget. The committee is likely to be set up in early November, Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena said.

Both the Government and the Opposition have agreed to this arrangement due to the practical difficulty of discussing the performance of the 64 ministries during the 17 days allocated for the committee stage debate, Mr. Gunawardena said. Hence the performances of the ministries will be discussed at the Committee and passed in Parliament without a debate. The Budget will be presented to Parliament on November 21.

Gampola residents ‘in the dark’ over 12-hour power cuts
Residents of Umagiliya, Gampola are facing 12-hour power cuts for the past two weeks.
Residents complain that, they are severely inconvenienced by these power cuts, with no information available about the cause of the power cuts.

However, a spokesman for the regional office of the CEB in Gampola, told the Sunday Times that, this was due to the construction of a line to the Upper Kotmale power project, adding that the work would be completed within the next few days.

Air Force starts work on Kandy airport next month
By Damith Wickremasekera
More than 300 acres of flat land in the Karandagolla area of Kandy district have been earmarked for the construction of an airport for the hill capital.Preliminary work in preparing the land for the airport construction begins next month, and will be handled by the Sri Lanka Air Force, according to Minister of Mass Media and Information, Keheliya Rambukwella.Some of the land belongs to the University of Peradeniya, and discussions are under way for acquiring the land.

Aircraft with a capacity of up to 160 passengers will be able to land and take off from the airport, once completed. “The airport will be a big boost for tourism in the hill capital,” Minister Rambukwella said.

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