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[Parliament– (05-07-2017)]

[Parliament– (05-07-2017)]

Lotteries sans draw date or numbers

CID to probe into Bandula Gunawardena’s statement

The CID will probe into MP Bandula Gunawardena’s statement on the sale of lottery tickets sans a draw date or draw numbers, Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament yesterday.

The minister was making a special statement in reply to the charges made by MP Gunawardena regarding the National Lotteries Board (NLB) at a Joint Opposition media conference on June 25. The minister said the pieces of paper displayed by MP Gunawardena were not lottery tickets, but an art work of ‘Govisetha’ lottery.

“No complaint has been received from the sales network or customers in this regard.

“The matter has been handed over to the CID for investigations.

“The NLB seeks legal advice on the future course of action,” he said.

“MP Gunawardena should go before the CID and make a statement in this regard. If he does not do that, we will make sure that he will be summoned. There are nine lotteries of the NLB in the market.

“Three million lotteries are printed daily. The irresponsible statement of the MP could have affected the sales of the lottery tickets,” he said.

The minister said the monopoly of printing of lottery tickets held by a company for 20 years, was broken in 2016 by adopting a competitive bidding process.

JO MP Sisira Jayakody, raising a point of order, questioned the authority of Minister Karunanayake to make statements relating to the NLB stating that the auditing of the NLB comes under the purview of the Finance Minister.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said the statement was in order as the NLB has been gazetted under the Foreign Ministry.

IDPs entitled to get registered as voters

Parliament yesterday passed the Registration of Electors (Special Provisions) Bill allowing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to get registered as voters in the electoral district where they permanently resided prior to May 18, 2009.

The Bill was moved for the debate by Justice Minister Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapakshe and was passed with amendments.

The amendments were to revise the definition of “internally displaced persons” and to apply the provision to the entire country without restricting it to the North and East.

According to the Bill, “notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Registration of Electors Act No 44 of 1980 and subject to Article 89 of the Constitution, any citizen of Sri Lanka who has been an Internally Displaced Person, whose name appeared in the register of elections for any electoral district for any year until the end of 2009 and whose name has not been entered in any register in operation subsequent to the year 2009, will be able to register in the electoral district he had been living prior to May 18 2009”.

However, those who have not reached the age of 18 at the time, he or she got displaced and those children of displaced persons who have been born after the displacement will not be entitled to this facility.

Body parts mixed with waste at Muthurajawela

Minister Musthapha rebuts rumours

Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister Faiszer Musthapha yesterday in Parliament denied the claim that human body parts have been mixed with waste dumped at Muthurajawela.

The minister replying to a question by MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena said human body parts from hospitals and mortuaries are incinerated by the health authorities at incineration plants in Welisara.

He said the government will construct a sanitary landfill and compost plant at Muthurajawela. Another sanitary landfill would come up in Aruwakkalu in Puttalam with railway connectivity, he said.

“The ministry is carrying out a detailed survey of existing dump sites to see the possibility of converting them to environmentally friendly sanitary landfills. We need to resolve land issues and construct at least two sanitary landfills in every district. We have planned to purchase 100 garbage compactors from local funds and another 151 from Korean soft loans to improve waste transportation facilities of the Local Government authorities,” Minister Musthapha said.

He said a taskforce would be set up to monitor waste management activities in Colombo and the suburbs. “We will prepare a waste collection and disposal master plan for each province with the support of all stakeholders. We will hand over the summary of the report to the President on July 17,” the minister said. He said three ‘waste to energy’ plants would be set up at Karadiyana, Muthurajawela and Moratuwa with the help of other ministries for waste in the Colombo metropolitan area and Gampaha district.

JO members protest against dumping garbage in Muthurajawela

Joint Opposition members yesterday in Parliament protested against the dumping of garbage in Muthurajawela.

MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena raising a question under the Standing Order (23) 2, asked the Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister to explain the Government’s plans to tackle the municipal solid waste and garbage issue effectively.

“The collection and disposal of domestic, commercial and industrial waste and garbage is not being carried out to the satisfaction of people. Piles of garbage are seen rotting by the roadsides and dumped in environmentally sensitive places throughout the country. This affects the environment the health of the people. It is a major cause of dengue epidemic” he said.

The MP asked whether the Government would give attention to the plea of Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to put an end to dumping garbage at Delatura, Ja-Ela. The MP quoting the Cardinal said human body parts discarded by hospitals were mixed with garbage and they posed a serious health hazard to those living in the area.

MP Gunawardena asked the Government to end haphazard dumping of waste and adopt long term solutions to the garbage problem.

“Appeals of the Maha Sanga, other religious leaders and public representatives have brought the attention of the Government to similar situations cross the country. Will the Government pay attention to the proposal by the Joint Opposition after the Meetotamulla debacle to hold the Local Government election?” Gunawardena questioned.

He asked the Government to implement an emergency programme to deal with the crisis and incorporate the public and their organisations towards transparent and effective planning for the collection and disposal of local bodies' solid waste and garbage.

Minister Faiszer Musthapha replied to the questions raised by the MP. The JO members who were unsatisfied by the minister’s reply protested in the well of the House demanding not to destroy the sensitive ecosystem in Muthurajawela by dumping garbage. MPs Niroshan Premaratne, Prasanna Ranaweera, Prasanna Ranatunga, Sisira Jayakody and Indika Anurudha were engaged in a heated argument in the House.

Sumanthiran locks horns with Mano Ganesan

A heated argument broke out between National Dialogue Minister and Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader Mano Ganesan and TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran at the Steering Committee meeting yesterday, Parliamentary sources said. The Steering Committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met yesterday at the Parliamentary complex to discuss the interim report on Constitutional reforms. The argument was over the Tamil parties’ agreement on the proposed Constitutional reforms.

MP Sumanthiran charged Minister Ganesan that the latter had allegedly made a statement that Tamil parties had given their consent to the reforms. Minister Ganesan, while denying making such a statement, however, stood his ground that there was nothing wrong in saying so as the Tamil parties have not opposed to the proposed amendments. As the argument dragged on, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe intervened to calm down the two members, stating the issue could be resolved through discussion outside the meeting room. Parliamentary sources said the Steering Committee meeting was cut short as a result of the argument.

The Steering Committee will meet today and tomorrow to finalise the interim report.

Kande Vihara monies counted on request: Wijayadasa Rajapakshe

Buddhist Affairs Commissioner General intervened in counting the monies in temple collection boxes following a request made by the Aluthgama Kande Vihara temple Chief Incumbent, Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe said in Parliament yesterday.

Minister Rajapaksa said the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs did so as it is his duty according to the provisions of the Buddhist Temporalities Act.

Making a statement, the minister said the chief incumbent of the temple informed that the till boxes at the temple were overflowing and requested in writing for the government's assistance to count them and deposit the money in bank accounts as it was the practice.

Minister Rajapaksa said the law applicable to temples and devalas is included in the Buddhist Temporalities Act. Those institutions are functioning under the provisions of the Act.

"The Government does not involve in the affairs of those institutions if there is no request from their authorities," the minister said. He said the Kande Vihara temple developed rapidly under the leadership of its current chief incumbent. "According to the Buddhist Temporalities Act, there are two types of temples. According to the provisions of the Act, the Public Trustee should maintain accounts on the income received by those temples. It is the duty of the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs to deposit such monies in bank accounts. The Temple of Tooth Relic, Kataragama Devale, Seenigama Devale, Adam’s Peak temple and Kande Vihare too come under the category of temples, monies of which should be deposited by the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs, the minister said.

He said that there are 258 such temples and devales according to the section 4.1 of the Act. He said whenever the till boxes of the temples were filled, the chief incumbent informs it to the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs. He said the officials go to the temples and count those monies and seal the boxes. With regard to the Kande Vihare instance, the chief incumbent had informed the commissioner in writing that the tills were full and asked the latter's help to count them.

"That was how the tills were opened and monies were counted," the minister said. (Daily News)

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