‘We are tackling the worst’

By Arthur Wamanan

Deputy Minister, Women’s and Child Affairs, Vijayakala Maheswaran outlined the importance of the implementation of a National Policy for women-headed households. Speaking to the Nation, she emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to help women by understanding their financial and psychological situation.

Following are excerpts:
Q. Can you explain the process that has been adopted to formulate the proposed National Policy for households headed by women?
We are currently conducting meetings and discussions with various stakeholders with regard to the prevalent issues, the needs, the societal and family circumstances in which they are compelled to provide for their families. Their issues and their needs would not be the same. There would be a lot in common, but they would not need the same kind of assistance. That is what we are trying to look at. We are trying to formulate a policy which would accommodate every family in the island.

We have not finalized on anything yet. But we will continue to have discussions with women’s organizations and government officials island-wide for their input. Continue reading →


Aiyo Oxford

Indians and Sri Lankans can agree on one thing, Aiyo. Today, this two-syllable word has made its way into the Oxford Dictionary. OED has defined the popular word as, “In southern India and Sri Lanka, expressing distress, regret, or grief; ‘Oh no!’, ‘Oh dear!’”
The latest addition includes various Singapore English words like mamak (Malaysian word for street stall), pancit (flat tyre) and even popular dishes from Singapore and South-east Asia like “char kway teow”, “chicken rice” and “rendang”. Continue reading →

More hiccups as drug prices slashed

Published in the Nation on October 23, 2016

In light of the recent regulation of the prices of essential drugs coming into force, pharmacists pointed out that those who purchased drugs for medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypotension and asthma constituted at least 40% of the market share.

The price revisions of 47 essential drugs were gazetted on Friday (21).
Accordingly, the list of drugs included those which are used for the treatment of non-communicable diseases that are widely prevalent among the middle-aged population of Sri Lanka. Continue reading →

Swimming pool for prisoners

Published in the Nation on October 23, 2016

A prison with a swimming pool has been planned and almost complete for inmates at a facility in Tangalle, who will be moved to a location in Angunakolapelessa as part of the process for reforms to be carried out in Sri Lanka.

Minister of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Hindu Affairs D.M. Swaminathan spoke to Nation on the status updates of prison relocation, the issue of prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the support given to civilians who have been resettled in their areas after displacement.

Q. There are reports of relocation of prison complexes and establishment of new correction facilities. Can you explain the status with regard to this?
The prison reforms are being carried out in several stages. The relocation of prisons from existing suburban areas to interior areas is the main step of this process. Continue reading →

North acknowledges Workers’ plight

At a time when reconciliation and its importance is being widely discussed, the people of the North and the South came to the streets last week, not for themselves, but for the estate workers in the hill country whose wage issues are unresolved for years.
For years, the Tamils of the North have been focusing on their own issues and have been demanding durable solutions for the ethnic question, and the issues that stemmed out of the conflict that ensued.

Even after the war ended, many of the issues of the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces remained unaddressed. Issues such as enforced disappearances, land grabbing, delay in releasing those arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), are some of the issues that continue to be raised in local and international platforms. Continue reading →

‘No water, so plant trees’

Published in the Nation on October 16, 2016

Minister Fernandopulle contends country is paying the price for wasting resources

he drought situation in several parts of the country has compelled the government to restrict water supply.

State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Sudarshini Fernandopulle in an interview to Weekend Nation said the scarcity of drinking water was severe while adding that the country needed a long-term strategy to manage such situations in future.

She also said that the Ministry hoped to commence a massive campaign to promote tree planting island-wide as part of the long-term strategy.

Following are excerpts:
Q:There are restrictions on water supply to several parts of the country. How serious is this situation?
To be frank, it is quite a serious situation as far as I am concerned. We have witnessed extreme weather conditions in several parts of the country quite a few times during this year alone. The changes in climate had a huge impact on drinking water.  We had a drought in the beginning of this year. That was followed by incessant rains, floods and landslides which resulted in thousands affected and displaced. Now once again we are facing a drought situation.

On all three occasions, we had to supply water. We supplied water in bowsers during the drought. Then during floods too we had to ensure people had access to safe drinking water.

Now, we have reached a critical situation where there is an acute shortage of drinking water. The water in our reservoirs is drying up rapidly. At the same time, the demand for water is increasing by the day. We have decided to restrict water supply in order to ensure that the situation does not worsen.

We are working with the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) and the local government bodies. Continue reading →