25th January 1998


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Mother of 2 dies after abortion

By Marcus Joseph

A bogus doctor who is alleged to have caused the death of a young woman by performing an abortion on her has surrendered to the police. He was produced before the Panadura Magistrate who remanded the suspect. The dead woman is 24-year-old M. Shiromala Fernando of Nalluruwa, Panadura, a mother of two children.

It was revealed at the magisterial inquiry, held by the Panadura acting Magistrate Mrs. Lalitha Chandraratne that the bogus doctor who was running a dispensary at Nalluruwa, had charged the woman Rs.1,400 for the abortion. A few days later she died at the Panadura Base Hospital.

The JMO who held the post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as excessive bleeding.

NDUNLF to change name

The Srimani Athulathmudali-led political party known as the National Democratic United National Lalith Front (NDUNLF) has decided to change its name to ULF.

Party spokesman Ravi Karunanayake said they decided to call themselves the United Lalith Front (ULF) as the acronym NDUNLF was too long.

We will inform the Elections Commissioner tomorrow of our change of name,” Mr.. Karunanayake said.

MPs to check parliament food waste

Trade Minister Kingsley T. Wickramaratne has called for the setting up of a joint-party committee to check on food waste in the Parliamentary complex

The minister said that following a report in The Sunday Times, he has requested the Speaker to set up this committee consisting of Parliamentarians from all parties who are knowledgeable in reducing the cost of food items and food waste.

“I have already had discussions with several mmbers of parliament, and they have welcomed this move,” he said.

According to Mr. Wickramaratne the government aims to save Rs. 50 million by stopping waste of food this year.

CEB and turbine contractors in US$2 million squabble

By Frederica Jansz

The CEB has incurred an additional expenditure of US $ 2 million as a result of a delay in completing a gas turbine project at Kelanitissa by an Italian firm, senior officials said.

The Kelanitissa Gas Turbine Project contracted to Fiat Avio on July 15 last year, has still not been completed as required by the terms and conditions of the contract, CEB officials said.

CEB’s Additional General Manager Ana Seneviratne in a letter dated November 10, 1997 to the CEB General Manager says Fiat Avio has no valid reason to argue that the delay was due to reasons beyond its control. The company could only cite a two-day curfew which caused Fiat to contend with a depleted work force for about 5 days.

As a result of the delay the loss to the CEB is estimated at over US$ 2 million. This loss has been calculated on the basis of running the small gas turbines at Kelanitissa Power Station and incurring additional fuel costs during the period when the Fiat Turbine was unavailable on account of late completion.

Mr. Seneviratne has recommended that the matter be referred to an independent committee to make a final decision.

Endorsing Mr. Seneviratne’s suggestion, CEB Chairman P.A.M. Deraniyagala, however, told The Sunday Times that justifying an imposition of a penalty is a complicated matter.

He said Fiat Avio did have certain justifiable reasons for the delay and these had to be, in all fairness, considered before seeking a reduction on contract price.

However engineers and contractors of CEB are accusing some ‘interested parties’ of hampering the process of claiming the loss of US$ 2 million as penalty.

Mott Ewbank Preece, acting as consultants for the project has been requested to inform Fiat Avio that due to a delay in completing the project, the CEB was seeking a reduction in contract price. Fiat Avio is reported to have later made an appeal against this decision.

Meanwhile CEB engineers and consultants allege that Fiat Avio is incapable of providing two gas turbines and one steam turbine for a combined cycle power plant as they do not manufacture 2+1 configuration machines.

Recent islandwide power cuts that are being experienced, they said could be a result of the malfunctioning of these turbines. However Power and Energy Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte attributed the power failure to lightning.

For the combined cycle project at Kelanitissa, a feasibility study confirmed that the best option for Sri Lanka would be a 2+1 option.

It is now being alleged Chairman Deraniyagala is likely to ask Fiat Avio for a solution it could supply. Mr Deraniyagla told The Sunday Times he could not discuss a request for proposals at this stage. Fresh bids were called for the Kelanitissa combined cycle project on January 16, 1998.

Engineers say that the 2+1 combined cycle system is more expensive while the 1+1 is cheaper. Regular power cuts will be less likely if a 2+1 system is implemented.

There is always the possibility that only one of two gas turbines will fail as a result of being hit by lightening, they said. However the point is being argued that Fiat Avio is cheaper in price and so requires consideration.

Ravi Balasuriya, the local agent for Fiat Avio was not available for comments.

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