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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.

The Resident Representative for UNDP in Sri Lanka Mr. Robert Juhkam met with the President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Officeyesterday (22nd) morning.The UNDP envoy apprised the President regarding the programmes that they have already implemented in the country.

Mr. Juhkam also assured President Sirisena that UNDP will support Sri Lanka in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals while giving importance for the Sri Lanka’s national development priorities.

Although the Opposition criticizes the US inquiring into the detainees of the Easter Sunday terror attacks, the government has cooperated with various agencies all over the world who combat extremism, Defence State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said in Parliament yesterday.

He said hence the government has had to cope up with the UK, France and Russia as well. He said that MP Weerawansa made such a statement. He also said that although the Opposition attempted to create a fake Boogeyman image about the USA, it attempts to select a American citizen for their Presidential candidate.

He made these observations joining the debate on the extension of the Emergency Regulations by another one month.

State Minister Wijewardene said that the Emergency Regulations is extended by a month after consulting with the various security agencies in the country. He also said that the Emergency Law is extended not to subvert the trade unions or their actions.

He also said that the Kandy procession is to be held next month and a large crowd would come to the watch it. Security has already been strengthened in the Central Province. He also said that the Dondra procession is to be held and church feasts are to be held in the near future. “Due to these reasons the government seeks to extend the Emergency regulations to provide security to them,” State Minister Wijewardene said.

He also said following the Easter Sunday terror attacks by Islamic extremists, the Security Forces could arrest all those who assisted Zahran. However, we are taking measures to arrest those who listened to Zahran’s lecturers. In this endeavour, Zahran’s wife’s brother could be arrested.

He said that MP Weerawansa alleged that government assisted US informants. “However, extremism is existing all over the world.So we have had to cope up with all who work against extremism,” the State Minister said.

“We have had to work with the UK, France as well as with Russia. Hence, the FBI officers went to Welisara to meet those detainees.”

He added the opposition attempts to create an unnecessary image on the US investigations. But the Opposition is attempting to select a US citizen as their Presidential Candidate.

President Maithripala Sirisena emphasizes that the Religious leaders should take the lead in mending the hearts of the people that were broken in the tragic incident of April 21st. The President also said that politicians should fulfill their national responsibility in this regard leaving aside their narrow political agendas.
The President made these observations addressing the National Conference on Peace, Unity and Reconciliation held at the Nelum Pokuna Theater in Colombo (30th) afternoon.

Although the lives lost on the 21st of April cannot be restored, the President said that everyone can come together to defeat terrorism and ensure peace, unity and reconciliation in the country for the sake of the future generation.

The President added that the government has taken every possible step to eradicate the hatred, fear, suspicion and distrust among the people of Sri Lanka following the April 21st terror incident. He further said that all the political parties should come to a consensus under the guidance of all religious leaders to ensure national unity.

Accordingly, the President also pointed out that it is the responsibility of everybody to abstain from acts and conducts that create fear and distrust among the people.

This national conference was held with the participation of religious leaders and politicians.

The main objective of the conference is to promote peace, harmony, tolerance and trust among different ethnic groups and religions in Sri Lanka, to deliver the message to the world that different religious communities live in peace and harmony, and to ensure that the people of this country live in harmony and reconciliation.

A large number of religious leaders and prominent politicians were present at the conference and foreign dignitaries including the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Dr. Muhammad Bin Abdullah Karim Al Issa were also participated in this event.

The government has done everything to make Sri Lanka safe destination for tourists to travel, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said at Temple Trees yesterday.

The PM assured that all suspects involved in the Easter blasts have been rounded up (or either killed) and more precautions are being taken to ensure that security is in place in just two months. He said that several religious festivals such as the Dalada Perahara in August and other events would take place soon and adequate security measures are in place for them.

The Premier said that in a bid to protect the stakeholders of the tourism industry, series of financial relief measures were successfully introduced. In addition the airlines flying to Colombo were offers concessions in ground handling, landing rates and given fuel concessions and these too would help the speedy recovery of the industry.

The hotels rates too have come down and tourists should make use of this opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka tourism even after the blasts kept on receiving globe encouragement from travel magazines as the best place to travel in 2019.

He said that they were expecting 2019 to the best year for Tourism in Sri Lanka with the expectation of highest revenue and highest number of arrivals. “However we are now experiencing the steady progress in arrivals from 400 per day from two months to around 1,100 per day and this is encouraging.”

 

Controller General Immigration, Pasan Ratnayake when ask by Daily News said that the revenue loss for the department due to low arrivals up to now due to the Easter blasts would be around Rs. 1.2 billion and a further Rs 4. 3 billion due to offering free visas for six months for 48 nations.

He also said that special arrangements would be made at the airport to felicitate this process. He also advised foreigners using this facility to register online prior to coming to Sri Lanka. “The free visa would be for one month.”

Asked by ‘Daily News’ from the Prime Minister as to how the government was going to compensate the loss, the Premier said that it would be balanced by the higher number of arrivals and the economic benefits that are expected from offering free visa.

Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunge said that the tourism recovery was better than what they expected. “Arrivals in May which was 37,000 increased to around 117, 000 end of July and we will touch the 1.9 million arrival mark this year.”

Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Kishu Gomes said that they will fall US$ 800 million short of the projected revenue from tourism for 2019.

President Maithripala Sirisena handed over letters of appointment to the members of the Tripitaka Conservation Board at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (31).

The President has appointed this Tripitaka Conservation Board comprising of 43 clergy and layman members including Most Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Thera, Anunayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter, Anunayake of the Asgiri Chapter, Venerable Anamaduwe Dhammadassi Thera, the Chief Incumbent of the Somawathi Rajamaha Vihara Most Ven. Pahamune Sumangala Thera, Most Ven. Medagama Dhammananda Thero and Most Venerable Trincomalee Ananda Thero.
President Maithripala Sirisena has taken steps to make the Theravada Tripitaka a world heritage. He declared the Tripitaka as a national heritage, which is a pure heritage of the Theravada Buddhism. It has been safeguarded by the Bhikkhu generations for over two thousand five hundred years.

The President fulfilled this national responsibility for the Sambuddha Sasana as Head of State of the country, with the sole intention of protecting the Tripititaka Dhamma from the forces of evil. Accordingly, the re-printing or editing of the Tripitaka will be completely prohibited in the future without the approval of the Tripitaka Conservation Board appointed by the President.

President Maithripala Sirisena emphasizes that the Religious leaders should take the lead in mending the hearts of the people that were broken in the tragic incident of April 21st. The President also said that politicians should fulfill their national responsibility in this regard leaving aside their narrow political agendas.
The President made these observations addressing the National Conference on Peace, Unity and Reconciliation held at the Nelum Pokuna Theater in Colombo (30th) afternoon.

Although the lives lost on the 21st of April cannot be restored, the President said that everyone can come together to defeat terrorism and ensure peace, unity and reconciliation in the country for the sake of the future generation.

The President added that the government has taken every possible step to eradicate the hatred, fear, suspicion and distrust among the people of Sri Lanka following the April 21st terror incident. He further said that all the political parties should come to a consensus under the guidance of all religious leaders to ensure national unity.

Accordingly, the President also pointed out that it is the responsibility of everybody to abstain from acts and conducts that create fear and distrust among the people.

This national conference was held with the participation of religious leaders and politicians.

The main objective of the conference is to promote peace, harmony, tolerance and trust among different ethnic groups and religions in Sri Lanka, to deliver the message to the world that different religious communities live in peace and harmony, and to ensure that the people of this country live in harmony and reconciliation.

A large number of religious leaders and prominent politicians were present at the conference and foreign dignitaries including the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, Dr. Muhammad Bin Abdullah Karim Al Issa were also participated in this event.

“Let’s Stand together for the Country” National Development Program - Gampaha District 812 projects implemented to benefit 218513 beneficiaries during the first day (July 29)

“Let’s Stand together for the country” National Development Program is implemented by the Presidential Secretariat under the concept of His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena and the sixth program is being implemented in 13 Divisional Secretariat Divisions in Gampaha District. Mr. Sunil Jayalath, the District Secretary, Gampaha said that the government has provided relief to 218, 513 people through 812 projects yesterday (29) resolving public issues pending.

Presidential Secretariat, Government Ministries, Departments, Statutory Boards, Provincial Councils, Local Authorities, Armed Forces, Police and Private Sector Organizations have been involved in implementing development and social welfare projects in 1177 Grama Niladhari Divisions in Gampaha District. National programs such as Grama Shakthi, Kidney Prevention, Dengue Prevention, Food Security, Drug Prevention, Protect Children, Smart Sri Lanka, Sustainable Education and Environmental Protection are being implemented at village level under the direct supervision of the Presidential Secretariat and will be followed by public workshops, seminars, workshops and awareness programs. The program also empowers the government machinery by conducting mobile services to solve problems that the public needs to solve.

 Nine Grama Shakthi programs have been launched in parallel to the “Let’s Stand together for the country” National Development Program launched in Gampaha District yesterday (29) and a total of 748 persons were granted relief. Further, relief was granted to 1287 persons through eight programs under the Kidney Prevention National
Program. In addition, 656 programs were implemented under the Gama Rekuma Program, 149 Dengue Prevention Programs, 14 programs under the Protect The Children Program, 04 programs under the Smart Sri Lanka Program, 4 Environmental Programs, 9 Food Security Programs, 8 welfare programs for the elderly and persons with special needs, 64 Drug Prevention Programs and 2 Productivity Development Program were implemented. Gampaha District Special Media Center of the Department of Government Information announces that 33 development programs have been
mplemented under various subjects providing relief to 218, 513 beneficiaries in addition to the above.

Gampaha District Special Media Center
Department of Government Information
(Release No : 01 / 2019.07.30)

The state-owned banks should be strengthened at all times and there should never be any attempt to privatize them, President Maithripala Sirisena declared yesterday.

President Sirisena was speaking at the 80th anniversary celebrations of the Bank of Ceylon held at the BMICH, Colombo, yesterday.

The President said that this had been his stance toward state-owned banks throughout his political career. He observed that it was no secret that fraud and corruption, poor management and, exploitative actions of some trade unions, have all dented the productivity of some institutions that generate revenue for the government. It was the state-owned banks like the BOC that have always supported such affected institutions during difficult times, he pointed out. Source: news.lk

Sri Lanka and Japan recently signed a Memorandum on Defence Cooperation which facilitates and develops cooperation and exchanges between the two countries in the field of defence on the basis of mutual interest.

The memorandum was signed by State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene and Japanese State Defence Minister Kenji Harada, who visited Sri Lanka from July 25 to 26.

During his stay, State Minister Harada also paid a courtesy call on President Maithripala Sirisena.

From the viewpoint of securing the freedom and security of navigation and flight, the Japanese government will promote cooperation with Sri Lanka, which is located at a strategically important point in the Indian Ocean.

Such cooperation includes high-level exchanges, capacity building assistance and consultations.

State Minister Harada also visited St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, and Shangri-La Hotel as a mark of respect to the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks. Source: DN

The Finance Ministry sponsored four-day Enterprise Sri Lanka national exhibition in Anuradhapura at the Walisinghe Harischandra Stadium, ended on Saturday.

The exhibition which began on July 24, saw around 500,000 visitors, mainly schoolchildren and youth.

Speaking to the media and audience on Saturday, State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne said the government’s Enterprise Sri Lanka programme was the best opportunity extended by any government for encouraging amateur entrepreneurs. Enterprise Sri Lanka and Gamperaliya were two revolutionary economically uplifting programmes in the country.

“With Enterprise Sri Lanka, we aim to make the country a paradise for small and medium-scale entrepreneurs. This innovative programme focuses on enterprising young self-employed farmers and innovators identified as the backbone of economic development in the country. These two national economic development programmes will help us to substantially raise per capita income, while helping to create one million new jobs and maintain the GDP above five percent,” the State Minister said.

“For the first time, we have provided loans under such low interest rates for enterprise development, for the public. If a person thought that he couldn’t achieve prosperity through obtaining a loan under the Enterprise Sri Lanka programme, he would never gain another opportunity to obtain a loan at such low interest in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Treasury Secretary R.H.S. Samaratunga said the Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition in Anuradhapura has been a great success having paved way for 20,000 amateur entrepreneurs in the district with the strength to take the country towards an export-oriented economy. Under the Enterprise Sri Lanka subsidised loan scheme, 55,000 rising local entrepreneurs have been granted loan facilities worth Rs. 88 billion.

At the closing ceremony, Anuradhapura Government Agent R.M. Wanninayake handed over the official scroll indicating that the second Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition which was held in Anuradhapura had successfully ended and that the third exhibition would be held in the Jaffna district, to the Jaffna Government Agent N. Vedanayagam in the presence of Jaffna district Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran.

Wanninayake said that nearly 500,000 had visited the exhibition during the four days from 24–27 and there were large number of requests from the public for extending the exhibition for a few more days.

Ministers Ranjith Maddhumabandara, P. Harrison, and Chandrani Bandara were also present on the occasion.  Source: Daily News

 

President Maithripala Sirisena says Sri Lanka is very keen to expand defence cooperation with Japan. He said this when Japanese State Minister of Defence, Kenji Harada called on him at the President’s Official Residence in Colombo (July 26).

The President said that as both countries are interested in maritime security, Japan and Sri Lanka should further increase cooperation between the two navies to ensure international maritime security as well as safety and security of international waters. He thanked the visiting Japanese Minister for longstanding development assistance provided to Sri Lanka by Japan.

President Sirisena said that the existing close cooperation in naval sector should also be expanded to the army and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries would be helpful for increasing cooperation. The MoU on defence cooperation was signed by the visiting State Minister and his counterpart, Ruwan Wijewardane at the Ministry of Defence.

President Sirisena, referring to the tripartite agreement reached between Sri Lanka, Japan and India to develop the Eastern Terminal of Colombo Port said that it was very important step to develop the capacity of the Port of Colombo.

State Minister Kenji Harada said that defence and economic cooperation between Japan and Sri Lanka has made rapid progress in recent years and said that the cooperation between two navies cover joint naval operations, training and logistics. Referring to Sri Lanka’s strategic placement in the Indian Ocean, he emphasized the importance of maritime cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan as oceans are of utmost importance to both the countries.

Secretary to the President, Udaya R Seniviratne, Japanese Ambassador Akira Sugiyama, Director of Japanese Defence Cooperation and Exchanges, Masakazu Takahashi and Executive Assistant to State Minister, Hiroshi Kokubo were also present on this occasion.

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