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New conditions and extended deadline for 50,000 brick- and -mortar houses in North and East

Posted on 16 November 2017 by admin

 

New conditions and extended deadline for 50,000 brick- and -mortar houses in North and East

By Namini Wijedasa – Courtesy: Sunday Times.

Specifications changed or added to keep construction costs down and to facilitate sourcing of material.

The Government has extended the deadline to submit proposals for the construction of 50,000 brick-and-mortar houses for conflict-affected families in the North and East, and changed some of the specifications to make the units cheaper and easier to build.

The new conditions go some distance in quelling concerns that the estimated price of a brick-and-mortar house would be so high as to validate efforts in other quarters to erect imported, steel prefabricated houses across the north and east.

The deadline for submission of proposals is now November 27. It was earlier November 13. The Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, which is handling the project, introduced an addendum to its recent Request for Proposals (RFP) that allows the use of cement sand blocks (hollow and solid) in addition to the burnt brick earlier demanded. This was after widespread representations that burnt brick could be difficult to find in areas where the houses are to be built.

Several other specifications have been changed or added to keep construction costs down and to facilitate sourcing of material. The RFP initially insisted on river sand for all construction but this has now been modified – in view of, among other things, environmental concerns – to include washed sea sand or manufactured sand (grinding sand) that is approved for quality.

There is also now more flexibility in the use of wood. The RFP earlier called for all doors, including those inside the house, to be of suitable seasoned timber. This has been changed to “front door and rear door should be suitable seasoned, treated timber”. Inner doors will be the responsibility of the recipient of the house while the toilet door can be local, ordinary timber.

The objective of the project is to build low-cost, durable housing, the addendum read. Tenders will have to be accompanied by financing arrangements on soft terms.

Civil society groups have waged a two-year campaign to compel the Government to introduce acceptable housing for the war-displaced people in the North and East.

“Masonry houses are the time-tested model, technically sound and most suitable for living, cultural and climatic conditions of the North and East,” a recent statement by a housing collective said. “Thus, we are also pleased that the government has recognised and respected the preference of the people for masonry houses.”

It highlighted the importance of involving home owners in the construction, with input from community groups; of creating employment while boosting the local construction industry and economy of the North and East through the project; of “meaningful consultation” with beneficiaries; and of using environmentally appropriate options.

“Masonry houses are not just built of burnt clay bricks (gadol/chengkallu), but also of cement blocks, compressed stabilised earth blocks, etc,” the statement said. “The most cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for the area needs to be considered, eg. burnt clay bricks, are not the most cost effective in the North, accounting for a small percentage only.” This issue has now been solved via the addendum.

“The RFP provides very little space for community ownership and community participation in monitoring the construction, and seems instead to strongly favour a contractor driven approach,” the statement also said.

This concern has been handled through responses to questions raised at the pre-bid meeting. Interested parties have been told to submit a separate proposal outside the bid for consideration and “suitable policy decision”. Local employment is encouraged while the involvement of international staff with special expertise is deemed “acceptable”.

The project has been divided into packages, with each given a deadline of one year for completion. A successful bidder has to submit a performance bond equivalent to five percent of the initial contract price.

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Investment and trade agreements during visit by Australian Prime Minister

Posted on 02 November 2017 by admin

Nov 02, Colombo: Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has held productive discussions with the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, during a visit to Colombo Tuesday, the High Commission of Australia said in a release.

The visit marked the 70th anniversary of bilateral relations and highlighted the strong friendship between the two countries.

The leaders identified new areas of collaboration including in trade and investment, defense and security matters. Prime Minister Turnbull expressed appreciation for Sri Lanka's strong cooperation in countering people smuggling.

In discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Turnbull announced three Australian Stabicraft vessels will be given to the Sri Lankan Coast Guard to boost maritime security, as well as assistance from the Australian Federal Police to reinforce Sri Lanka's counter-narcotics efforts. This builds on the strong existing cooperation between Australia and Sri Lanka in addressing transnational crime, and people smuggling. 

Prime Minister Turnbull also offered Australia's support to establish Sri Lanka's proposed National Defense College, with a senior Australian military officer to be seconded to the College for two years from 2018.

The leaders discussed shared strategic interests and agreed that Australia and Sri Lanka, as Indian Ocean trading nations, had a strong common interest in working together to preserve the rules-based order that has underpinned the region's peace and prosperity.

During the visit, Prime Minister Turnbull and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe witnessed the signing of a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement, which will establish regular senior officials' talks to facilitate trade and investment. The Framework follows on from the Joint Declaration on Enhanced Cooperation signed during President Sirisena's visit to Australia.

Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning to mark the 70th anniversary of Australia-Sri Lanka bilateral relations.

According to BIA sources he arrived at 7.10am by an Australian special flight with a  deligation of 13 ministers.

He is to meet President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today during his four hour visit and would discuss on strengthening economic links, defence engagement and on working together to combat trans-national crime particularly people-smuggling between the countries.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, this afternoon, met with visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Temple Trees. 

The two leaders officiated over the signing of several agreements relating to trade and investment at their meeting.

Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry Secretary Chandani Wijewardana signed the agreement representing Sri Lanka while Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson signed the agreement representing Australia. 

Turnbull arrived in Sri Lanka today on an official visit to mark the 70th anniversary of Australia’s bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka.

He met with President Maithripala Sirisena earlier this morning where he commended the government's reconciliation programme.  

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Tilak Marapana is new Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka

Posted on 25 August 2017 by admin

Newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, Tilak Marapana assumed duties today at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Standing at extreme right is Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam. FM received blessings of religious dignitaries and well wishers.

The Minister also serves as the Development Assignments Minister.

He assumed the post as the Foreign Minister following former Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s resignation.

 

Tilak Marapana was sworn in as the Minister of Foreign Affairs before President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday.

Marapana, a President’s Counsel, is a former Attorney General who retired prematurely with the change of Government in 1994. He thereafter practised on the unofficial bar and enjoyed an extensive and lucrative practice when in 2001 he was appointed the Minister of Defence in the UNP Government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

Later, with the demise of Gamini Atukorale, he was also appointed the Minister of Highways, Transport and Civil Aviation.

In 2015, following the last General Election, Marapana was appointed as the Minister of Law and Order. Consequent to a speech made by him in Parliament in which he explained the use of firearms stored in a ship chartered by Avant Garde and following allegations that he could interfere with the ongoing investigations against Avant Garde, he resigned from his portfolio until the conclusion of the investigation. 

In May this year Marapana was once again appointed to the Cabinet as the Minister of Development Assignments, a new ministry set up to monitor all ongoing development projects, both foreign and local.

Marapana as the Attorney General led the Sri Lanka delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva on successive sessions from 1992-1994 and successfully prevented the passage of a resolution against Sri Lanka on human rights issues. 

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Prescription (Special Provisions) Act No.05 of 2016

Posted on 02 August 2017 by admin

Prescription (Special Provisions) Act No.05 of 2016.

The Government of Sri Lanka brought into operation the Prescription (Special Provisions) Act No. 05 of 2016 on 26th April 2016. The aim of this Act is to provide special legal provisions for persons who could not initiate legal proceedings to recover their immovable properties as a result of terrorist activities in Sri Lanka during the period from 1st May 1983 to 18th May 2009.

The period of operation of this act expires on 26th April 2018.

Any person who wishes to claim immovable properties through the provisions of this Act, such claim should be submitted before 26th April 2018.

Trilingual electronic copies of the Act are available on the official website of the Ministry of Justice of Sri Lanka at http://moj.gov.lk. Copies are attached.

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Collection of Biometrics from Passport Applicants Applying through Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions

Posted on 02 August 2017 by admin

Collection of Biometrics from Passport Applicants Applying through Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions

Kindly be informed that all passport applicants, applying through Sri Lanka Missions overseas from 1st November 2017, will be required to provide their biometric information (fingerprint and digital face image) to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, upon their first entry to Sri Lanka after obtaining their passports. At present biometrics are not collected from applicants who submit passport applications through Sri Lanka Missions overseas. Mandatory collection of biometrics of passport applicants in Sri Lanka was initially introduced a system of on 15th August 2015. This system is being extended to all passport applicants in order to strengthen the integrity of the passport issuance process. Necessary facilities will be available at the Department’s Head Office and branches in Sri Lanka including at airports, to complete this process to minimize inconvenience caused to the applicants.

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Series of new appointments – Government of Sri Lanka

Posted on 04 July 2017 by admin

Mr. Austin Fernando  New Secretary to the President.

 Courtesy:   

Mr. Austin Fernando  New Secretary to the President

  • Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne new Defence Secretary

  • Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake new Commander of Army

  • Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama was sworn in as the Governor of Eastern Province

The Governor of the Eastern Province, Mr. Austin Fernando has been appointed as the new Secretary to the President and he received his letter of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence, today (July 04).

He is one of the most senior civil servants of the country and he holds Masters (MA) in Public Administration from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Earlier in his illustrious career, he served as the Government Agent for Polonnaruwa District and Nuwara Eliya District. He was later appointed as the Commissioner of Cooperative Development and Postmaster General. He became the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Rehabilitation, Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs and Provincial Councils. He was appointed as the Defence Secretary in the Unity Government. 

Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne and Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake were appointed as the new Defence Secretary and the new Commander of Army respectively.  

Former Foreign Minister, Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama was sworn in as the Governor of Eastern Province before President Maithripala Sirisena. This position became vacant due to the resignation of former Governor, Mr. Austin Fernando. 

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Government of Sri Lanka to shut diplomatic missions

Posted on 26 June 2017 by admin

Govt. to shut diplomatic missions.

2017-06-26.

Several Sri Lankan Missions abroad including some of those in Europe would be closed down soon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake said yesterday.

He was explaining the Government's plans to make changes in its diplomatic mechanism.

He said it would be done after assessing the performance and looking at the rationale behind keeping these missions.

Minister Karunanayake, who came up with this information at a media briefing yesterday morning said some Sri Lankan diplomatic missions in Europe would have to be closed down in the future.

“We will have to close down some missions as those have found to be of no use lately," the Minister said

He said performance of all diplomatic mission heads would be assessed before making a final decision.

“The Government has decided to go for commercial based diplomacy and link to the world through establishing commercial based diplomatic ties with various countries across the globe," he added

Further the minister said

“Heads of all Sri Lankan diplomatic missions have been called for a meeting with the President and the Prime Minister on September 4 to brief them about the new policy,” he said.

He said three diplomatic heads had been already recalled.

However, the Minister refrained from divulging as who these mission heads were.

“We are not in a position to reveal the names of these diplomatic heads yet,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Karunanayake said only one person with vested interests was shouting against the Government’s move to put the National Lotteries Board under his purview.

“They may be shouting as I managed to turn the National Lotteries Board into a profit making venture, which was hit by financial losses,” he said.

“There have been instances where the Mahapola was under the Ministry of National Security during the time of late Lalith Athulathmudali and the National Lotteries Board was under the purview of Ministry of Science and Technology in the past.

“However a great din is made when the National Lotteries Board was placed under the purview of my Ministry,” he added. (Yohan Perera – Courtesy: The Daily Mirror).

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Press Release: Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake briefs Diplomatic Corps

Posted on 16 June 2017 by admin

 

 

 

 

 

On the direction of H.E. the President Maithripala Sirisena and Hon. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Hon. Minister Karunanayake directed the Foreign Ministry to respond to the emergency needs of the flood victims in coordination with the Ministry of Disaster Management.  The Ministry Emergency Response Unit, activated on 26th May 2017, to coordinate international Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief measures, launched an appeal to the INSARG (International Search and Rescue Group) through the UN. The Foreign Ministry also appealed to countries in the region to obtain the services of Emergency Rescue Teams.

In response to Sri Lanka’s appeal, India immediately dispatched its naval ships “INS KIRCH”, “INS SHARDUL”, “INS Jalshawa” along with Search and Rescue teams and emergency relief materials. Pakistani Naval Ship “ZULFIQUAR” called at Colombo port as well with rescue teams and relief materials. Three Chinese vessels “Chang Chun”, “Jing Zhou” and “Chao Hu” which were originally on a goodwill mission to Sri Lanka and visited Colombo port on 1st June 2017, have changed their mission focus to relief measures.  A Humanitarian Assistance Chinese Flight with relief materials is   due to arrive on 3rd of June 2017 at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA)While Australia donated ten Zodiac inflatable boats to Sri Lanka, Japan handed over essential relief materials to the Disaster Management Ministry and offered the services of an Emergency Disaster Relief expert. Israel donated a consignment of relief goods. The EU, Norway, the US, Thailand and several other countries have offered assistance to Sri Lanka while Singapore, the Maldives and Nepal announced cash donations. 

Acting upon Sri Lanka’s appeal, the UN coordinated the international deployment of Search and Rescue (SAR) teams. 17 SAR teams, including India, China, France and Australia, were placed on alert to handle any adverse situation. The UN Agencies have also deployed their teams in disaster areas to work with the respective line Ministries and Agencies. The Foreign Ministry also directed its Overseas Missions to coordinate relief activities with Sri Lankan expatriates and community members.

Minister Karunanayake, at his first briefing session held for the Diplomatic Community and Honorary Consular Corps on 31st May 2017, thanked the countries for their generous and timely assistance. He also expressed his gratitude to the countries that sent messages of sympathy and expressed support for the people of Sri Lanka at this difficult time.

The Minister highlighted the challenges that lay ahead of Sri Lanka in handling the post flood recovery, reconstruction of affected areas, as well as building capacity for the Prevention and Mitigation of future disasters. He underlined the cooperation and assistance that Sri Lanka would expect from its bilateral and multilateral partners in implementing projects in these areas.

Minister Karunanayake reiterated that under his stewardship, Sri Lanka will pursue the policy of “Friendship with all and enmity with none”. Acknowledging the success made by the country in the area of Foreign Relations with its partners, under the stewardship of former Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister assured the Diplomatic Community that he would strive to build on the success of his predecessor. Minister Karunanayake further affirmed that he would seek to translate the prevailing positive climate into securing economic benefits for the country by focussing more on commercial diplomacy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Vasantha Senanayake also addressed the Diplomatic Community and expressed his desire to work with them very closely.

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colombo
1st June 2017

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Eran Wickremaratne, Dr. Harsha de SIlva among eight Deputy and State Ministers appointed.

Posted on 31 May 2017 by admin

 

President Maithripala Sirisena appointed eight new deputy and State ministers who took oaths on May 31, 2017. 

Following the recent  cabinet reshuffle,  8 new deputy ministers  and State ministers took oaths today before the president. 

State Ministers
1.Eran Wickremeratne :  State minister –finance 
2.Palitha Range Bandara :State minister – irrigation 
3.Vasantha Parakrama  Senanayake :State minister –foreign affairs
4.Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena : State minister             – Enterprise development 


Deputy Ministers 
1.Dr. Harsha De Silva : Dep.minister – National policy and economic affairs 
2.Ranjan Ramanayake : Dep. Minister –Social empowerment , welfare and Hill country rights 
3.Karunaratne Paranavitharne : Dep. Minister -Skills development and vocational training 
4.Lasantha Alagiyawanna – Dep. Minister Finance & Media

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SRI LANKA EMBASSY CONDUCTS “A DAY OF SRI LANKAN CULTURE” IN WASHINGTON DC

Posted on 12 May 2017 by admin

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A Day of Sri Lankan Culture and Tradition in DC 

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Despite spring showers, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC was a hive of activity on Saturday as thousands of visitors thronged to the embassy premises for a celebration of Sri Lankan culture. The Embassy opened its doors to the public as part of the annual Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour, an event organized by Cultural Tourism D.C., which provides embassies in Washington D.C. the opportunity to offer a peak into their cultures and cuisine.

Throughout the day visitors to the Sri Lanka Embassy were treated to an array of Sri Lankan food and beverages, including Ceylon tea, while enjoying live traditional music, dances and folk games. As in past years, the ‘sari corner’ generated much excitement among the visitors, as they tried on the country’s colourful traditional attire and posed for photographs. The visitors were also eager to have their names written in the age-old Sinhalese and Tamil scripts, as a unique souvenir of their visit. Many were also eager to learn what made Sri Lanka such a globally popular tourist destination.

Around the World Embassy Tour is Washington D.C.’s citywide international cultural awareness program that provides its residents and visitors an opportunity to explore the international culture that is a crucial part of the city’s character.  

 

Embassy of Sri Lanka

Washington D.C.

 

May 6, 2017

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