Schools Project to curb dengue menace
The Public Health Department has launched a campaign to
curb the spread of dengue which is reaching epidemic proportions
in Colombo. Already 72 cases have been reported of which 35 are
below the age of 15, official sources said. Cases have been reported
from Kirillapone, Wellawatte and Kotahena. Some of the victims had
returned to Colombo from Jaffna recently.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said the Public
Health Department (PHD) would also be inspecting schools to ensure
that there are no dengue breeding grounds.
With a view
to encouraging school authorities to maintain a healthy environment
a 'Healthy Schools Project' will be launched this month, he said.
This is a six-month programme which will be funded by the World
Health Organisation (WHO). The project which will focus on the physical,
aesthetic and psycho-social aspects that contribute to the well-being
of students held its first awareness workshop yesterday.
schools have been invited to participate the response has been very
disappointing, a PHD official said.
will focus on improving government, private, international and other
schools in Colombo. Initially 50 schools will be targeted and later
expanded to other schools. There are 150 schools within the Colombo
municipal limits with more than 200,000 students.
have conformed to the standards set by the Public Health Department
will be awarded the title of 'Healthy School'. Schools that have
been certified as a healthy school will be encouraged to carry out
specific projects in order to compete for the 'Healthiest School'
and other prizes will also be awarded. Dr. Kariyawasam said that
emphasis will be placed on improving the psycho-social environment
in view of the recent reports of ragging and violence reported in
deal: Minister insists on full payment
Attempts by IBIS to issue a conditional letter of credit
as payment for the 39 percent shares in six cluster bus companies,
have failed with Transport Minister Tilak Marapana insisting on
IBIS has stipulated
the condition that to cash the LC the governnment should first give
a guarantee enabling the bus company to obtain funds to the value
of 30 percent of the shares to be utilised for running costs.
Marapana maintained that a government guarantee could not be granted
until payment had been made for the 39 percent shares purchased
want to pay the cash down until they get the guarantee. My position
is we must not give the guarantee until the shares are paid for,"
the Minister said, adding that PERC is trying to work out a mechanism
to satisfy both these requirements.
to give a guarantee, the government shareholding should be more
than 50 percent and the Attorney General had stated that the Government
could not give a guarantee until the shares are increased, Minister
will possess 50 percent shares in these state-owned cluster bus
companies, while 39 percent will belong to the buyers and 11 percent
to the employees of the SLCTB.
the sale of shares of the remaining seven bus companies is yet to
The two companies
expressing interest in purchasing shares are Jeyalakshmi and ADI
transaction not taking place as scheduled, a spokesperson for Jeyalakshmi
Transport Services said the company was still interested in obtaining
aid for ailing railway
While local and international contractors have already
demonstrated interest in the Sri Lankan Railways, the government
is looking to India for assistance in developing the crisis-ridden
the Railway Management Council, P.H. Manatunga, appointed by Transport
Minister Tilak Marapana this week, told The Sunday Times he had
visited India with the minister to study the railway system there.
is interested in setting up a credit line in order to facilitate
government to government assistance, he said. Although the crisis
in the railways was overcome last week by the promise of funds,
the Railway Department is yet to receive anything more than a promise
and a 12 man council.
to The Sunday Times inquiries General Manager Railways, Priyal de
Silva said 'we do not know how much the allocation is'. When the
allocation is received track rehabilitation, locomotive and carriage
overhauls and signalling rehabilitation will take place, he added.
After a protest held in front of the Transport Ministry premises
on Tuesday, railway employees returned to work on an assurance given
by Minister Marapana that funds were being released by the Treasury
to rehabilitate the railways.
however, expressed dissatisfaction with the minister's solution
to the massive problem in the department.
The money allocated
by the Treasury to prevent the railways from grinding to a halt
will only be sufficient to cover re-sleepering and re-railing, said
Treasurer of the Railway Supervisory Managers Union, H.L.R. Fonseka.
Wimal Weerawansa in Parliament this week said that although this
government gave tax concessions to big time fraudsters and concessions
to casino kings, it is clearly not allocating the funds necessary
to protect the railways which is the transport mode of the common
here with govt. blessings
and Consumer Affairs Ministry is reportedly carrying out an advertising
campaign spending thousands of rupees to herald the coming of Munda
Gas, imported by a private company not connected with the government.
This week several
national newspapers carried full page colour advertisements regarding
the arrival of Munda Gas in the market. The advertisement liberally
used green, the colour of the party in government and carried the
name of the Ministry.
Secretary Ministry of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, R. Maligaspe
told The Sunday Times that he had not seen the advertisement and
was unaware of an allocation being made to pay for these advertisements.
He also denied that Munda Gas had any connection with the Ministry.
bill under fire
A tough anti-crime bill proposed by the government is
running into criticism that some provisions will violate fundamental
W.J.M. Lokubandara presented to Parliament the Prevention of Organised
Crime Bill that lays down tough penalty for crimes ranging from
killing and kidnappings to currency rackets and child abuse.
The Bill has
already drawn fire from opposition political parties who will challenge
it in courts shortly. They say the provisions of the Bill might
be used to violate the basic civil rights of the people.
under the Act could get the death penalty or upto 25 years jail
with fines ranging from Rs 25, 000 to Rs 100, 000.
Among the offences
covered by the bill are military desertion, murder and attempt to
murder, kidnapping, wrongful confinement in secret, sexual exploitation
of children and trafficking, rape and gang rape, extortion, robbery,
forging a valuable security or will and counterfeiting currency
on LTTEs satellite equipment not fixed yet
The Customs Department has forwarded a preliminary report
to the Finance Ministry on the issue of Customs duty payable on
the VoT satellite communication equipment imported for the LTTE.
of Customs S.C. Jayathillake told The Sunday Times that he had sent
the preliminary report to the Finance Minister but declined to comment
further as investigations were still in progress.
It is now over
a month since Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued a statement
that the question of unpaid Customs duty on communications equipment
imported for the use of the Voice of Tiger (VoT) radio station operated
by the LTTE would be determined in what he called 'a matter of days'.
K.N. Choksy also declined to comment on the recommendations of the
report until he has sufficiently studied it and decided on a further
course of action.
The satellite communication equipment controversially imported on
behalf of the LTTE by the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo without Customs
duty being paid, is now fully operational.