Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila in preparation to face the No -Confidence Motion against him by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya had prepared the groundwork for the challenge by publishing a 56-page booklet called the ‘Indana Mila Sanshodanaye Eththa Kathawa‘ or the ‘True story of the fuel price revision’. Minister Gammanpila circulated the booklet not only among [...]


Oil prices: No short-term solutions in Gammanpila’s booklet


Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila in preparation to face the No -Confidence Motion against him by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya had prepared the groundwork for the challenge by publishing a 56-page booklet called the ‘Indana Mila Sanshodanaye Eththa Kathawa‘ or the ‘True story of the fuel price revision’.

Minister Gammanpila circulated the booklet not only among fellow MPs, but also journalists.

In the booklet, the minister goes on to reason out the fuel price revision by giving the losses suffered by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), the fluctuation of the US dollar against the rupee and the rise in prices of oil in the world market.

But what the public may be more interested in would be the plans on reducing fuel prices. It goes on to explain the mid-term and long term solutions. Under the mid-term it is planned to increase the production capacity at the existing refinery from 38,000 barrels per day to 45,000 barrels and also to have a new refinery in Sapugaskanda.

Under the long-term it is to expedite plans to extract oil from the deposits which have been identified off Mannar.

But, it seems there are no short-term plans and the public would have to bare with the prices for a longer period until the mid-term and long-term plans materialise.


Little justice for equality of languages in JP form

Ensuring that all citizens are able to do their business with the state affairs in the language of their choice, particularly Tamil, has become a challenge over the years as many government institutions turned a ‘blind eye’ to the Constitutional requirement to do so.

The recent debacle is the application form for the post of Justice of the Peace (JP). An instruction leaflet issued by the Ministry of Justice said that the form should be filled in Sinhala or English alone, leaving out Tamil — one of the official languages of the country.

The unkindest part was the fact that the leaflet which is published in three languages instruct Tamil applicants to fill the form in Sinhala or English.

It was only later when the matter was highlighted that an official attached to the Minister’s office took up the issue with the relevant department to enable Tamil applicants to fill the form in Tamil.

Judge Elancheleyan’s annual tribute to shot bodyguard

For Trincomalee’s High Court Judge Manickavasagar Elancheleyan, July 22 is an unforgettable, if not an unfortunate day, as it took the life of his long-time bodyguard, 51-year-old Sgt. Sarath Hemaratne, who served as his police escort for 17 years.

When he was Jaffna High Court Judge in 2017, Sgt Hemaratne was killed in a shooting incident. Judge Elancheleyan narrowly escaped but his bodyguard paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Since then, every year he used to visit the house of his late police bodyguard in Chilaw to engage in commemorative events. This week too, Judge Elancheleyan  visited the house of his former bodyguard and met the family. Earlier, Judge Elancheleyan  had said that he would support the education of the children.

All togged up for webinar, but only from head to waist!

It was a webinar on Sri Lanka-United Kingdom relations and was jointly conducted by the Pathfinder Foundation and the London-based International Institute of International Studies (IISS).

The discussions were based on Chatham House rules which meant participants were debarred from making comments on the proceedings.

Yet, there was one slip that was showing. One of those who took a sneak peak at the proceedings via the web was somewhat surprised at the sartorial appearance of a professor who spoke from Singapore.

The camera not only showed him speaking. It also showed what he wore. A pair of shorts, shirt tie and coat. Alas, the professori had thought that the cameras would not record him below the waist. It did and the other participants had a hearty laugh.


Raakesh Natraj Jayabhaskaran to head north from the hills

A former journalist turned diplomat is to be appointed as the new Consul General of India in Jaffna. Raakesh Natraj Jayabhaskaran, who is currently serving as Assistant High Commissioner of India in Kandy is to take up his new assignment in the North shortly.

Before his stint as a diplomat, Mr. Raakesh Natraj worked at The Indian Express as a journalist. He is from Tamil Nadu, South India.

Outgoing Consul General S. Balachandran is to be appointed as the new High Commissioner for three countries in South America.


Tamil politicos unhappy over appointment of new Chief Sec of Northern Province

Senior state administrative officers in the north expressed concerns and were disappointed this week when they came to know that the current Vavuniya District Secretary Saman Bandulasena is to be appointed as the new Chief Secretary of the Northern Province. He is scheduled to take up his new post tomorrow.

The appointment of a non-Tamil speaking chief secretary came from the Presidential Secretariat overlooking more than a dozen eligible senior Sri Lanka Administrative Officers (SLAS) who are serving in the region already.

Some Tamil politicos, especially former Northern Provincial Councillors are planning to stage a protest against the appointment early next week though the Council expired years ago.


Canada donates $26 million for Tamil community centre

The Canadian government will grant $ 26.3 million for the construction of a Tamil Community Centre (TCC) in Toronto.

After getting approval from the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Programme (ICIP), the Canadian government has agreed to pay 73% of the $26.3 million needed to build the community centre. The funding for the construction of the Tamil Community Centre, including taxes, is estimated to be worth at least $40 million, say Tamil websites.


Taping calls and fighting for rights: Taking a leaf from Ramanayake?

A Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) parliamentarian from the Colombo district created a sensation this week.

It was just a day ahead of the Haj festival where animal sacrifice and distribution of meat is a ritual. The Wakfs Board had issued a directive, days ahead of the holy day, asking mosques not to allow animal slaughter within their precincts.

The parliamentarian dialled his mobile phone and spoke to a senior official in the Ministry of Local Government. Who asked you to send such a directive, he thundered? Under what law did you do that?

The official kept his cool. When the firing of questions was over, the official humbly asked the parliamentarian “What made you think it is me? I have not sent any directive at all.”

The matter should have ended there, one would have thought. It did not. It turns out that the conversation was taped. Now the parliamentarian is circulating the recorded speech and said that he was doing so to show Muslims how he was fighting for their rights.   Did he take a leaf from onetime MP, Ranjan Ramanayake, who was in the habit of recorded conversations of all and sundry?


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