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The Lotus Tower, South Asia’s largest tower, was declared open by President Maithripala Sirisena a short while ago.

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer was commemorated under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute today (16).

The ceremony was organized by the Ministry of Mahaweli development and Environment on the sideline of the World Ozone Day and the 32nd anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

The keynote address was delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa Prof. K. K. C. K. Perera under the theme of “Kigali Amendments to the Montreal Protocol and its impact on the Climate Change”.

A First Day cover was issued to mark the completion of 30 years after Sri Lanka became a signatory of the Montreal Protocol.

All the countries including Sri Lanka which are parties to the Montreal Protocol celebrate the World Ozone Day on September 16 every year.

Sri Lanka as a developing nation is at the forefront of preserving the Ozone layer and a leading country to eliminate ozone-depleting substances. As per the Montreal Protocol Sri Lanka has pledged to reduce using depleting substances by 35% by 2020, 67.5% by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

State Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment AjithMannapperuma, Secretary to the President Udaya R. Seneviratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and EnvironmentAnuraDissanayake, the Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Sri Lanka Faiza Effendi and several other dignitaries were present at the commemoration ceremony.

The State Literary Awards Ceremony 2019, an occasion to give due accolades to the literati who have enriched the field of literature in Sri Lanka, was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall yesterday (12th) afternoon.

Many authors received awards for their invaluable contribution and excellence for the advancement of the literature in the year 2018.

In addition, the President presented “Sahityaratna” lifetime award to Prof. Walter Marasinghe, Mr. Ayyathurai Santhan and Ms. Kamala Wijeratne for their great service towards the advancement of the local literature field in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages respectively.

The award for the best independent Sinhala novel was received by Author Ms. Virajini Tennakoon for “Makaranandaya” novel.

Mr. Elmo Jayewardene was vested with the award for the best independent English novel for his literary work, “Kakiyan”.

Writer Mr. A.S. Uthayan’s “Aluwarakarei” received the award for the best independent Tamil novel in this ceremony.

In the meantime, Mr. Nandana Weerasinghe has won the State Literary Award for the ”Kshana Niyama” best poetry award of the year.

The awards ceremony is organized annually by the State Literary Advisory Council, the Sri Lanka Arts Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

Minister Mr. Sajith Premadasa, the Secretary to the Cultural Affairs Mr. Barnad Wasantha, Director of the Cultural Affairs Department Ms. Anusha Gokula Franando, Prof. Ariyaratne Kaluarachchi, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Arts Council, Prof. Samantha Herath, Chairman of the State Literary Advisory Council and a group of scholars and artists were also present at the awards ceremony.

Colombo City has been developed to an extent over the past four years more than it has ever been in the previous six decades, Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed yesterday when he inaugurated a commuter boat service on the Beira Lake, Colombo.

The Navy operated boat service will carry 50 commuters from a jetty near Union Place to the Beira waterfront jetty in Fort in a 10-minute ride. The commuter boat service will begin operations shortly and will be a free public service for the first month. The authorities hope that the boat service could help ease the traffic congestion in central Colombo by providing an alternate commuter route across the Lake.

The PM said that it has been the aim of the government to make the metropolis the best and the most beautiful city in the South Asian region once again.“Today, we see a beautiful city in Colombo. This city has been developed for 50-60 years without proper plans. Though others were claiming the credit, I must say it was Minister Champika Ranawaka and his ministry who developed the city properly during the past four years,” he pointed out.
The Prime Minister also said all the infrastructure development was done with the aim of attracting a huge local or foreign investment within the next five years and thereby setting up an export-based economy in the country.

Prime Minister add that the government is working towards making Sri Lanka the hub of the Indian Ocean and that the megapolis being planned in the Western Province will be the center of that hub.The Prime Minister stated that the most difficult task of creating such a megacity is taking the start. Wickremesinghe said that no matter what anyone else says or claims to have developed Colombo, the city was developed by Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development.He said that there aim is make Colombo the best and most beautiful city in the South Asian region once again and to make Colombo the megacity of the Indian Ocean.

Minister Champika Ranawaka said that those who are in charge of the administration of the city of Colombo must be more responsible in fulfilling their duties rather than blaming others.He said the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) should be ashamed for not properly maintaining the sewage and rain water drainage systems in the city. “It is the officials of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation who worked to find solutions to the garbage problem in Colombo,” Ranawaka said adding that none of the responsible CMC officers could spend their time to find solutions.

The minister promised that the affiliated institutions of the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry unlike the CMC would work in a very responsible manner regarding the garbage matter thus avoiding a tragic situation like Meethotamulla. “The SLLDC, during next one and a half years period, will completely clean the Beira Lake after about 200 years, he also said.Providing a smart solution to the traffic congestion in the metropolis, a passenger boat service from Colombo Fort to Union Place was launched under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday.

The boat service is implemented and maintained by the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLDC) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Navy. This project is a concept of Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka. The investment for the entire project is Rs. 100 million and money has been allocated by the SLLDC out of its profits earned under the present government.

The passengers will be able to reach the terminals at either end within 9-10 minutes, whereas it takes about 30 minutes by road. Two air-conditioned boats, designed and built by the Sri Lanka Navy with a capacity of 50 passengers each will be in service.

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