GMOA to strike for increased transport allowance

The Government Medical Officer’s Association will decide on March 25 whether toresort to trade union action if the government fails to increase the transport allowance for doctors.

“The transport allowance promised in 2008 was Rs 29,000, and at present, we are receiving Rs 15,000. We are demanding the government to increase it by Rs 14,000,” said GMOA spokesman Dr. Upul Gunasekare.

Meanwhile, he said that, at the ongoing discussions with Treasury officials on the transport allowance, it was agreed to increase the extra duty allowance.

Dr. Gunasekare said doctors from Colombo National Hospital, Karapitiya and Colombo South (Kalubowila) hospitals have extended their support for trade union action, demanding the increase in transport allowance.

UNP teams up with TNA and others for Jaffna May Day rally

The UNP will hold its May Day rally in Jaffna town, in a joint opposition alliance that will include the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The decision was made during Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to Jaffna this week.

Mr. Wickremesinghe met E. Sarvanapavan of the TNA to discuss the arrangements. The other parties taking part will be the New Left Front, the Democratic People’s Front, the Democratic People’s Liberation Front, and the United Socialist Party.

Mr. Wickremesinghe visited 12 towns in Jaffna yesterday, and is due to visit Mullaitivu today.

Five arrests in Wilpattu landmine explosion case

By Shane Seneviratne

Five former LTTE members have been remanded on a charge of exploding a landmine that killed eight persons who were visiting the Wilpattu National Park in 2007.

Among the dead was writer Nihal de Silva (author of “The Road from Elephant Pass”). The suspects were arrested by the Police Counter Terrorism Unit in the Central province.The vehicle in which the eight persons were travelling was blown up in Hunuwilagama, 43 kilometres inside the park. The suspects said the landmine was meant for a military vehicle, and that they had mistakenly blown up a civilian vehicle.

The arrests were made in Silavatturai and Veduthaltivu in Mannar. The suspects were produced at the Nochchiyagama Magistrate’s Court.

Cigarette and beedi racket busted

Five persons arrested in Akkaraipattu, Ampara, on charges of selling smuggled foreign cigarettes and fake brand beedi were fined Rs. 400,000 by the Kalmunai Magistrate on Friday. The arrests were made during a raid on Akkaraipattu commercial outlets by Excise Department officers.

A total of 4,000 foreign cigarettes and 10,000 fake brand beedis were seized. The beedis were packed with an Indian brand name label. Two employees working in the beedi factory were also arrested.

Body of missing man found in Weerawila jungle

The body of a man from Tissamaharama who went missing nearly two months ago was found in a wooded area at Weerawila, in the Hambantota district, in the South. The body was in a highly decomposed state.

The man’s wife told the police that L. Dharamadasa, 43, had disappeared, along with his motorcycle, on January 21. The corpse and the motorcycle were recovered from a spot between an Air Force camp and an open prison camp yesterday evening. The man was identified by his clothes and the motorcycle. The Weerawila Police are investigating.

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