NEW TASK, A NEW OPPORTUNITIES – Rohitha Bogollagama

Newly-appointed Governor of the Eastern Province, former minister, Rohitha Bogollagama said the immediate task would be to strengthen the understanding between the people of the Province and the Government, and between the major communities in the region. In an interview with the Nation, Bogollagama said the new role was an opportunity to focus on the reconciliation process that has been initiated by President Maithripala Sirisena. Continue reading →

‘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 →

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 →

‘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 →

Stage set for New party – Basil

Published in the Nation on October 9, 2016.

Former Minister and Parliamentarian, Basil Rajapaksa has decided to clear the air over the formation of a new political party and claims that it is the people who had called for a new force to combat the government.

In an interview to Weekend Nation, Rajapaksa speaks about the process towards forming a new party and responds to allegations of striking a deal with the United National Party (UNP). Continue reading →

‘Truth lies in our utterances’ – Wigneswaran

Published in the Nation on October 1, 2016

Tamil pontificator Wigneswaran declares federalism is also the solution for the Sinhalese

In an interview with Nation, Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran shared his thoughts and views on the Ezhuga Thamizh (Tamils arise) event which evoked mixed to negative responses from the South.

Following is the full interview:
Q : What is the reason behind organizing such an event at this juncture?

The majority of the Tamils believe that our rights are going to be sacrificed at the altar of convenience soon. Till today nothing concrete regarding what rights the Tamils are to receive under the new constitution have been conveyed to us. If there is going to be secrecy in formulating the proposals either the Sinhala community or Tamil community or both are going to feel cheated at the end of it. We, Tamils, may feel not enough. The Sinhalese may feel it is a sellout. Therefore hatching a constitution in secrecy with selected members from the Tamil community would not help us Tamils. We need to bring the debate on the constitution into the open. The Sinhalese and Tamils must know what the constitution is going to give our people. You cannot try to hurry through a constitution if it is to last long. Passing a constitution to please Geneva next March would not help even the international community. Continue reading →