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Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana, who represented Sri Lanka at the “2023 Global Sustainable Transport Forum” held in Beijing, China, participated in a special visit to Beijing Foreign Studies University, after the conference.

On a scholarship awarded under the Confucius Chinese Education Plan, the Minister completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Beijing University of Foreign Studies.

Former Head of the Department of Sinhala Studies, University of Kelaniya, Professor Malwane Chandarathana Thera, University President, Committee Deputy Secretary, Professor Yang Dan, Vice President and Committee Deputy Secretary Prof. Jia Wenjian, Charg‚ d’Affaires of the Sri Lankan Embassy in China, Yogananda, Counselor at Sri Lankan Embassy in China, Purnima Gunasekara, China Harbor Engineering Co. Ltd. Regional Deputy General Manager Xu Liqiang, and a group of students studying at the Faculty of Sinhala Language Studies of Beijing Foreign Studies University, also participated in a discussion held with the Minister.

“His Excellency Anagarika Siri Devamitta Dharmapala sacrificed his life for the perpetuation of Buddhism. He restored and saved Buddhism in Sri Lanka as well as India. In an article published with the purpose of appreciating his contribution, I mentioned that Anagarika Dharmapala is the father of national education in this country. Based on a long-term deep study, I can say that the Father of Free Education is Mr. C.W.W. Kannangara, and the father of national education is Anagarika Dharmapala,” Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said.

On the occasion of the 159th birth anniversary of Anagarika Dharmapala on the 17th of September, a commemorative programme was held before the statue of Sir Anagarika Dharmapala in the Homagama Mahinda Rajapaksa College, under the patronage of the Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media.

Addressing the event, the Minister expressed the following views as well.

,”Anagarika Dharmapala called the then church-based missionary education system not inclusive of local heritage. He selected the talented youth of the country and offered them scholarships to receive education in countries like America, England, France, Germany, Japan, etc.

“Education is the only way to save our nation. Sri Lanka has an illegitimate education system. We have to send Sinhalese youths on scholarships to countries like America, England, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, etc. and start building the nation with them. To develop and become self-sufficient, consumption of foreign goods must be avoided. Every commodity that can be made in the country must be produced and used. By restarting industries in the country, wealth and employment generation can be increased.

Wealth creation, circulation. and exchange should be based on an understanding of the basic principles. Only administrative officers with competent expertise should be appointed to high positions of responsibility. Since acquiring knowledge of foreign languages is a national need, a program should be prepared for that.

“Mentioning this statement, my book ‘Mysterious Investment and Money Laundering’ was dedicated to His Excellency Anagarika Dharmapala.

“I believe that when I was the Minister of Education who has given the highest respect to Anagarika Dharmapala’s national education principle in recent history. I introduced the technology stream to the education system of this country where only science, art and commerce streams were available for the Advanced Level. I faced countless obstacles and insults during this endeavour and the JVP put up a poster campaign urging the Minister of Education who they claimed destroyed education immediately resign. Recently, they burnt down my house.

“In the Mahindhodaya Technical Laboratories built by devoting all my time at that time, a computer lab with 40 computers, a language lab with 20 computers for acquiring foreign language knowledge, a math lab, and a classroom for distance education have been installed. Two hundred fifty-one Mahindhodaya Technology Faculties were established for technical education. The ground floor of the building has been designed with the necessary machinery and equipment for engineering technology. The first floor has been allocated for learning modern agriculture, irrigation technology and bio-system technology. The third floor consists of classrooms for children. Around 1,000 Mahindodaya technology laboratories have been created in this way, all over Sri Lanka.

The thought of Anagarika Dharmapala lives in the 251 Mahindodaya Technical Faculties and in the Technology stream. So far, 13 technology faculties have been established in universities. More than 5,000 students are enrolled in those faculties every year and they obtain the knowledge to bring out the innovations needed in the world tomorrow.

“Anagarika Dharmapala, the father of national education, sacrificed his sweat, labour and wealth to raise the national education of the country together with many contemporary scholars. Therefore, he must be named the father of national education. The current generation must follow him and think beyond ordinary thinking. They must look more than they see. They must practise peace and harmony. We should be determined to serve the country for the good of the people.”

The Maha Sangha led by the Chairman of the Homagama Shasanarakshaka Bala Mandalaya, the Assistant Director of the Piriven Division of the Ministry of Education Ven. Madowita Vajirabuddhi Nayaka Thero, the Ven. Maduluawe Dhammika Thero, the chief of Uttararama temple of Pitipana, the local government officials, public representatives, the Principal of Homagama Mahinda Rajapaksa College, Mr. Sarath Bandu Kumara, the Deputy Principal and the teaching staff of the college, parents and students were present for this event.

 
 
 
 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe urged greater South-South cooperation and proposed a scheme akin to the Colombo Plan to enhance collaboration, exchange best practices and develop policies that harness the transformational potential of science, technology and innovation. President Wickremesinghe delivered a compelling address at the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the G77 and China in Havana, Cuba on Friday (15).

In his speech, President Wickremesinghe emphasized the crucial role of science, technology and innovation in overcoming the current development challenges faced by developing nations worldwide.

The President began by commending Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez for convening the summit and acknowledging Cuba’s historic role as a champion for the concerns and aspirations of developing nations within various multilateral forums.

He noted the unprecedented challenges confronting the global South, including the pandemic, climate change, food, fertilizer and energy crises, which threaten the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and exacerbate the global debt crisis.

President Wickremesinghe then delved into the historical perspective of technological development, highlighting how Europe’s advancements in the 15th century, such as gunpowder, cannons and ocean-going ships, enabled it to conquer other parts of the world, resulting in the technological divide seen today. He underscored that a new technological divide is emerging in the 21st century, necessitating the adoption of digitalization and new technologies, such as Big Data, IoT, AI, Blockchain, Biotechnology and Genome Sequencing, to bridge the gap.

He emphasised the importance of an educated manpower well- equipped with knowledge and technological know-how essential for the smooth flow of the needed transformations which will lubricate the development and catching up process in developing nations.

The President outlined his Government’s initiatives, including the evaluation of underperforming Science and Technology Research Institutes and the establishment of a Technology and Innovation Council and a Digital Transformation Agency.

Additionally, Sri Lanka plans to create four new universities specializing in new technologies, with one being the result of technological co-operation between India and Sri Lanka. The International Climate University will be the fifth.

Addressing the digital divide, President Wickremesinghe cited challenges such as limited access to costly technology, insufficient digital skills and infrastructure, cultural and institutional barriers and financing constraints.

He called for effective co-operation mechanisms within the G77 and China, including the revitalization of the Consortium of Science and Technology and Innovation for the South (COSTIS) and the commitment of member countries to earmark 1% of their GDP for R&D over a decade.

President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of collaboration between Governments and the private sector and proposed creating technological platforms in fields like digitalisation, health, medication, AI and renewable energy including green hydrogen, inspired by the European Union’s Technology and Innovation Platforms.

The brain drain from the South to the North and the resulting loss of educated manpower is another threat to the development of Science Technology and Innovation of the South, President Wickremesinghe said, adding that China, India, Japan and South Korea have developed Science Technology and Innovation by nurturing their manpower. “Therefore we must ask for compensation from the North for the loss of our manpower,” he added.

In conclusion, President Wickremesinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to supporting the new Havana Declaration and called for the collective voice of G77 and China to be heard in international fora.

The President’s address underscored the significance of science, technology and innovation in shaping the future of developing nations, making it a pivotal moment at the G77 and China Summit.

 
 
 
 

A book written by Natalya Kulishenko, senior officer at the Russian Centre in Colombo, was presented to Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana yesterday (13).

Kulishenko presented the book An English Queen and Starlingrad written in Russian and a copy of its English translation to the Minister.

The presentation of the book took place after a discussion between the Minister and Kulishenko at the office of the Transport, Highways and Mass Media Ministry in Battaramulla.

 
 
 
 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to take the helm of the Sri Lankan delegation at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. President Wickremesinghe will address the General Assembly on September 21. His speech will revolve around the theme ‘Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.’

Notably, President Wickremesinghe is slated to participate in a Heads of State/Government Leaders Dialogue during the 2023 SDG Summit. Here, world leaders will come together to provide crucial guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030. Furthermore, the President will lend his voice to the Climate Ambition Summit, convened by the UN Secretary-General, where a collective global will to hasten the transition to a more equitable renewable energy-based, climate-resilient global economy will be the central focus.

Adding to his packed agenda, President Wickremesinghe will deliver a keynote address at the High-Level Meeting on Financing for Development, highlighting the imperative of fostering debt sustainability and strengthening the global financial safety net.

During his stay in New York, President Wickremesinghe will seize the opportunity to meet with Mr. António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and engage in discussions with leaders of member countries.

Moreover, the President’s visit will extend beyond diplomatic engagements. He is set to participate in a Roundtable Discussion on Economic Opportunities in Sri Lanka, joined by over 40 prominent private companies from the United States. In addition, he will take centre stage at the Ocean Nations: The 3rd Annual Indo-Pacific Islands Dialogue, an event organized by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Sasakawa Foundation in New York.

President Wickremesinghe will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Mr. Ali Sabry P.C., Secretary to the President Mr. E. M. S. B. Ekanayake, Foreign Secretary Ms. Aruni Wijewardane and other senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The annual “Asidisi Media Scholarship Programme” aimed at improving the professionalism of the Sri Lankan journalists has been organized this year too by the Ministry of Mass Media.

Accordingly, applications has been called for “Asidisi Media Scholarship Programme 2023” and the deadline is 11th October 2023.

The journalist between the age of 18-55 who are employed in recognized Media institutions having completed three years of service on permanent or part time basis, freelance journalists, provincial journalists, web Journalists and media technicians are eligible for applying to this Scholarship programme. Moreover, the intended course should directly be related to the field of mass media and the applicants should possess the media identity issued for the Journalists by the Department of Information for the year 2023.

The journalists can be benefited by this scheme of scholarships twice. After the first Scholarship is awarded, they can once again apply for the second opportunity in five years after successful completion of the course.

Under this Scholarship Programme, two hundred thousand rupees (Rs.200,000.00) would be offered for a graduate or postgraduate programme and one hundred thousand rupees (Rs.100,000.00) would be offered for a long term or short term certificate course conduced by recognized institutions. The journalists who are eligible for this Scholarship Programme will receive 50% of the total course fee at the beginning of the course as the 1st installment, next 25% as the 2nd Installment and the balance when submitting the certificate after the successful completion of the course.

The beneficiaries will be selected after an interview conducted by a committee nominated by the Secretary, Ministry of Mass Media.

All the applications should be sent via registered post to the Director (Media), Ministry of Mass Media, No. 163. Kirulapone Avenue, Polhengoda. Colombo 05 on or before 11th October 2023.

Further details of "Asidisi Media Scholarship Programme 2023" can be obtained by contacting 0112513645 / 0112514632 and the application can be downloaded by visiting the website (http://www.media.gov.lk)

 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to depart for Cuba to address the G77 + China Leaders’ Summit next week. This summit, themed “Current Development Challenges: Role of Science, Technology and Innovation,” is scheduled for September 15 and 16, 2023, in Havana, Cuba.

President Wickremesinghe’s participation in the summit comes as a result of an official invitation from Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Alongside the summit, there are plans for bilateral discussions between President Wickremesinghe and the Cuban President to further strengthen the cooperation between Sri Lanka and Cuba.

The G77 + China Leaders’ Summit represents the largest intergovernmental coalition of 134 developing nations, as recognized by the United Nations. It serves as a platform for Southern countries to voice and promote their shared economic interests while enhancing their collaborative negotiating capabilities.

This conference offers an opportunity to address contemporary challenges in the realms of science, technology and innovation, exploring cooperative solutions, particularly through inter-Southern collaboration. The leaders of these nations are expected to adopt the ‘Havana Declaration’ during the summit, which will outline guidelines for reforms and new approaches to enhance cooperation among Southern countries in the fields of science, technology and innovation.

Ms. Aruni Wijewardena, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with a delegation of senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will also accompany the President for this significant conference.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe outlined an ambitious vision for Sri Lanka’s economic future during his address at the centenary celebration of Al-Mubarak Central College in Malwana.

He emphasised the replication of the Biyagama Free Trade Zone’s success as a blueprint for modern commercial industrialization to be implemented nationwide.

This strategy aims to propel the country towards rapid development within the next 15 to 20 years.

President Wickremesinghe noted the significant progress made in the Biyagama region since the establishment of the trade zone and highlighted the nation’s potential to become a thriving investment hub. He unveiled plans to open up several new investment opportunities on a global scale, paving the way for Sri Lanka to emerge as a prominent investment destination.

The President’s remarks were delivered during the centenary celebration ceremony, where he also revealed that several areas, including Bingiriya, Hambantota, Kandy, Trincomalee and the Northern Province, have been earmarked for the establishment of industrial estates. These areas are set to undergo rapid development, transforming into vibrant commercial cities.

Furthermore, President Wickremesinghe stressed the commitment of local representatives to attract investment opportunities for the advancement of their respective districts. He cited the example of the Biyagama investment zone, which has evolved into the premier trade zone in South Asia. President Wickremesinghe asserted that replicating the success of industrialization seen in Biyagama and Katunayake across all provinces is crucial for alleviating economic pressures.

President Wickremesinghe also highlighted the Government’s dedication to strengthening the country’s economy while simultaneously creating employment opportunities for the nation’s youth.

During his visit to Al-Mubarak Central College, President Wickremesinghe was warmly welcomed by students. He inaugurated a new three-storied building at the college and issued a commemorative stamp to mark the centenary celebration. This historic visit marked the first time a sitting President had visited Al-Mubarak Central College. The President also left a commemorative note in the special guest book and inaugurated the college’s centenary memorial. Additionally, he recognized students who exhibited exceptional skills with awards and certificates.

Education State Minister Aravinda Kumar also addressed the ceremony, while State Ministers Prasanna Ranaweera and Kader Masthan, along with Principal of Al-Mubarak Central College Malwana S.H.M.Naim, staff, students past and present and other officials were present to mark this significant occasion.

A collection of Russian books was donated to the Homagama Mahinda Rajapaksa College Library on a request made by Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana.

Colombo Russian Centre’s senior officer Natalia Kulishenko donated the collection that included a number of works used by her in Sri Lanka before returning after her tenure in Sri Lanka.

Kulishenko planted two Naa saplings in the college premises to commemorate her visit to the school. Tatiana Panditha, Russian Language Instructor of the Colombo Russian Centre, Sarath Bandu Kumara, Principal of the Homagama Mahinda Rajapaksa College, the teaching staff of the college and students were present on this occasion.

Kulishenko said that the Russian House in Colombo provides 60 scholarships for Sri Lankan students to pursue their higher education in Russian Universities free of charge.

She said that the students of the Mahinda Rajapaksa College will immensely benefit through the partnership between Mahinda Rajapaksa College and the Russian Cultural Centre.

“The Russian language is a very special one. It is poeticized by many talented writers. It is the language of the world’s greatest literature, which is known and admired throughout the world”, she said.

Kulishenko said that the first words in outer space were pronounced in Russian by Yury Gagarin. “During my travelling to the central part of the island, to the tea fields, I am surprised to hear fluent Russian there from Sri Lankans”, she said. She added that knowledge of the Russian language for a foreigner means a competitive advantage in the area of life success.

“As far as I know there are about 5, 000 Sri Lankan people who speak Russian Language. Most of them are members of the Association of Sri Lankan graduates from Socialist countries. Kelaniya University is the university in the country which offers bachelor’s degree in teaching Russian language,” Natalia Kulishenko said.

 
 
 
 

Decisions taken by the Cabinet of Ministers on 04.09.2023


01. Acting under an integrated approach for the need of water management considering it
as an emergency situation


A report dated 22.08.2023 published by the National Disaster Relief Center indicates that
due to the recent dry weather situation, around 84000 families in 70 divisional secretariat
areas belonging to 17 districts of the island have faced a shortage of drinking water. Under
this situation, the existing limited water capacities should be optimally utilized and managed
until sufficient water capacity is stored in the island's reservoir system. According to the
"National Water Resources Policy" approved by the Council of Ministers on 10.07.2023,
priority should be given to supply of drinking water. The government is also obliged to
protect other water sharers. According to the "National Water Resources Policy" approved by
the Cabinet of Ministers on 10.07.2023, priority should be given to supply of drinking water.
The government is also obliged to protect other water sharers. Accordingly the Cabinet of
Ministers approved the proposals mentioned in the cabinet memorandum presented
combined by the Hon. Prime Minister, Minister of Irrigation and Minister of Water Supply
and Estate Infrastructure Development to consider the supply of drinking water as an urgent
and priority requirement until sufficient rainfall is received and to act National Water
Resources Council proposed by the National Water Resources Policy as an emergency action
committee and take necessary measures for the same.


02. Progress of large-scale development projects by the end of the second quarter 2023


The Cabinet of Ministers took in to account the report presented by the President in his
capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies on the
progress achieved by 202 large-scale development projects implemented by line ministries by
the end of the second quarter of 2023. The Cabinet of Ministers took into consideration that
the progress of many projects was lower than expected level by the end of the second quarter
of 2023 due to the inability to use the funds related to the projects implemented on foreign
funds and the limited release of local funds until the debt restructuring process that has been
started is completed. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to allocate budget
allocations for the year 2024 by prioritizing the projects that can contribute to the achievement
of the government's 2048 development goals and contribute to the current economic crisis,
among the currently ongoing projects, until foreign funds can be utilized.


03. Promotion of tertiary education through career guidance


A program has been prepared to provide students those who finish the G.C.E. (O/L) Exam
until they start the Advanced Level or students those who finish the G.C.E. (A/L) with the
opportunity to complete a curriculum covering five basic areas related to vocational
education until they start vocational education while keeping them in the school system. The
program is mainly expected to develop IT and English language which are generally
important for vocational education along with soft skills. The Cabinet of Ministers approved
the proposal presented by the Minister of Education to implement the proposed program as
a pilot project for a period of 3-4 months in 320 selected schools covering every educational
division of the island and based on the results of the pilot project to implement the project as
a national program from the year 2024.


04. Leasing the servitude right of several plots of land in Muthurajawela owned by the Sri
Lanka Land Development Corporation to Ceylon Electricity Board for Laying of
Underground Pipeline


In 1997, a portion of 69 acres of Muthurajawela land owned by the Sri Lanka Land
Development Corporation was sold to the Ceylon Electricity Board. The Yugadanavi power
plant is built in one part of this land and the Sobadanavi new power plant is currently being
built on the rest of the land. The requirements for the construction of underground cooling
pipelines and underground fuel pipelines for those fuel plants have been identified. Several
other plots of land in Muthurajawela owned by the Land Development Corporation have
been identified as suitable for that purpose. As such, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the
proposal presented by the Minister of Urban Development and Housing to transfer the
servitude ownership of the said lands to the Ceylon Electricity Board on lease basis with the
right to sub-lease.


05. Allotment of a portion of land located on D.M.Kolambage Mawatha, Kirulapone to
Warakagoda Sri Gnanaratana Social Welfare Foundation


The Chief Incumbent of the Asgiri Maha Vihara has made a request for a suitable land for
the construction of an official monastery to provide accommodation facilities for monks
traveling from remote areas for national and religious festivals held in Colombo and suburbs.
A land of 27 perches owned by the Urban Development Authority located in
D.M.Kolambage Mawatha, Kirulapana has been identified as suitable for the construction.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of
Urban Development and Housing to transfer the said land to the Warakagoda Sri
Gnanaratana Social Welfare Foundation by way of Free Grant for the construction of a monk
monastery.


06. Establishment of diplomatic relations by the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri
Lanka with the Union of Comoros and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and
Principe


There are 54 sovereign states accepted by the United Nations in the African region. Among
these, Sri Lanka has established diplomatic relations with 46 countries and agreement to
establish diplomatic relations with 6 other countries is pending. Accordingly, the Cabinet of
Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to establish
diplomatic relations with the Union of Comoros and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome
and Principe.


07. Sri Lanka National Policy and Action Plan on Migration for Employment


The National Labor Migration Policy formulated in 2008 is the first policy on labor
migration in Sri Lanka. The "Sri Lanka National Policy and Action Plan on Migration for
Employment 2023-2027" has been drafted reviewing the said policy by obtaining the views
of respective Ministries, Migrant Workers and their family members, Foreign Employment
Agencies, Private sector, Civil Society Organizations, Trade Unions, Academics, Research
Institutes and Development Partners as well as International Non-Governmental
Organizations and the United Nations Agencies. Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers
approved the Proposal presented by the Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment for the
implementation of the said policy and action plan 2023-2027 which has been prepared in
accordance with the national and international legal and policy frameworks.


08. Provisions for registration of electric tricycles


Electrically charged batteries are used to manufacture electric three wheelers and to convert
petrol or diesel powered three wheelers in to three wheelers running on electric power. It has
been recognized that the tare weight of such three-wheelers exceeds 500 kg due to this
reason. According to the interpretation of the Motor Vehicles Act, the tare weight of a motor
tricycle should not exceed 500 kg and the gross weight should not exceed 1000 kg.
Accordingly, approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been received on 08.08.2022 to amend
the Motor Vehicle Act by removing the existing obstacle to the registration of electric threewheelers. The bill prepared accordingly by the legal draftsman has received the clearance of
the Attorney General. As such, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by
the Minister of Transport and Highways to publish the said bill in the Government Gazette
and submit for the parliamentary approval consequently.


09. Cancellation of Rent Act No. 7 of 1972 and introduction of Securing Residents Act.


Although revisions to Rent Act No. 7 of 1972 that are introduced with the objective of
defining the rights and responsibilities of the landlords and those who take houses on rent
have been introduced on several occasions, it is apparent that the expected objectives are not
catered by the act. The Consultancy Committee on Rent Act established under the Ministry
of Justice, Prison Activities and Constitutional Reforms has probed into this matter and
accordingly, it has been proposed appropriate to introduce a new law aiming at securing the
rights of both rentee and renter. Considering the said proposals, the Cabinet of Ministers have
granted approval for the proposal submitted by the Minister of Justice, Prison Activities and
Constitutional Reforms to instruct the Legal Draftsman to repeal the existing Rent Act No. 7
of 1972 and draft a bill named Securing Residents Act.


10. Amendments to the Export Agriculture Promotion Act No. 46 of 1992


The requirement of amending the Export Agriculture Promotion Act No. 46 of 1992 to cater
to the contemporary requirement has been identified. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers
granted approval to the proposal furnished by the Minister of Plantation Industries to instruct
the Legal Draftsman to prepare a draft bill for amending the said act.


11. Draft Bill on the Security of the Online Methods


The Attorney General has given his clearance for the draft bill on the security of online
methods drafted by the Legal Draftsman with the objective of safeguarding the general
society from the damages caused by false information publicizing and discriminating control
through the internet. As appeared in section III of the said draft bill, the following actions
have been misinterpreted in the provisions of this act;
• Communication of false statements on the incidents within Sri Lanka
• False statements causing defame
• Pave way for riots by provocation without reason
• Disturbing a religious assembly through false statements
• Communication of false statements with the sole intention of hurting religious
emotions
• Communication of false statements with the sole intention and with the sole
intention for the abomination of religious emotions
• Fraud
• Cheating by appearing some other person
• Defaming intentionally by a false statement with the objective of arousing for
violation of peace
• Circulation of false statements with the intention of causing a riot or an offense
against the Government
• Communication of statements on incidents to cause harassment.
• Child abuse
• Production of bots or modifying them for causing an offense.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the resolution furnished by the Ministry of
Public Security to publish the above draft bill in the government gazette and subsequently
submit the same to the Parliament for its concurrence.


12. Draft Bill of the Anti – Terrorist Act


Concurrence of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted at their meeting held on 05.09.2022 to
publish the draft bill of the Anti – Terrorist Act prepared by the Legal Draftsman in order to
introduce the Anti – Terrorist Act repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act in the
government gazette and subsequently submit it to the Parliament and followed by that, the
said draft bill has been published in the government gazette on 22.03.2023. Thereafter, a
number of parties having concern about that (local and international) have expressed their
concern regarding certain sections of the draft bill. Accordingly, the Ministry of Justice,
Prison Activities and Constitutional Reforms have called for views and proposals formally
from those who are interested in this regard through electronic media and the Minister of
Justice, Prison Activities and Constitutional Reforms has held discussions with certain parties
himself. Whereas, considering all the views and proposals submitted, actions have been taken
to prepare a new draft bill by the Legal Draftsman by revising the original draft bill which
was published in the government gazette. Clearance of the Attorney General has been
granted to the said new draft bill. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the
resolution furnished by the Minister of Justice, Prison Activities and Constitutional Reforms
to publish the said draft bill in the government gazette and thereby submit the same to the
Parliament

Route to cover all places of worship within Sacred City for Rs. 50

Service on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Poya Days

A special passenger bus service from the Anuradhapura railway station to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi was launched from the Anuradhapura Railway Station on a special request made by the Anuradhapura Atamsthanadhipathi,  Ven.Pallegama Hemarathana Nayaka Thera from Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr.Bandula Gunawardhana yesterday.

Accordingly, with the commencement of this bus service, devotees will have the opportunity to travel from the railway station to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi for Rs.50. The bus is scheduled to run 15 times a day according to a railway-bus integrated timetable system.

The ‘Bo Samindu Vandana’ bus route has been planned to cover all places worship including the Sandahiru Seya, Isurumuniya, Abhayagiriya, Samadhi Statue, Jethawanaramaya, Thuparamaya,

Ruwanweli Maha Seya and Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi from the Anuradhapura railway station.There has been a need for pilgrims and tourists, especially on Poya days and weekends, who come to worship the Anuradhapura sacred city including the Atamasthana without any obstruction at a minimum cost from the railway station to Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. Private transport facilities including three-wheelers have been there for a long time but it was pointed out a few weeks ago when Atamasthanadhipathi Nayak Thera met the minister that there had been an organized network of harassing pilgrims and tourists by forcing them into their vehicles and charging unbearably high fees. Critical news about this was published through various media and Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana had given instructions to the Sri LankaTransport Board officials to start a new bus service from Nikini Poya day.

Speaking on the occasion of launching this bus service, the Minister said; On Nikini Full Moon Poya Day, it is a pleasure to contribute to a special pilgrimage from the historical sacred city of Anuradhapura. With the Mahindagamana, the economic, social, cultural and religious history of this country began to change, with the sacred city of Anuradhapura as the foundation.

The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi located in Anuradhapura, which is a huge educational center centered on the Maha Vihara and Abhayagiriya, is known as the oldest tree worshipped by the

world’s largest number of people. A large number of people from remote areas of the country and even from foreign countries visit Anuradhapura daily to worship these special religious heritages and shrines including theAtamasthana.

The Nayake Thera of the Atamasthana had informed the heads of institutions and ministers and the heads of the security departments, since a long time about having to incur huge costs for travelling the short distance from the railway station, which is their main means of transport, to sacred areas including the Atamasthana and about the various persecutions and harassments devotees have to face. It is very reasonable to be blamed by the Nayake Thera for not looking into this. I took the responsibility of resuming this train-bus integrated transport service, which had been running for about a decade and had been discontinued, after paying attention to it. As the Minister in charge of Transport and Highways, it is my responsibility, duty and right.

Accordingly, we are happy that this bus service, which will be launched, has been able to provide solutions to a problem that was a big nuisance for the devotees. Accordingly, this joint bus transport service will operate only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Poya days, and through this, the people who run three-wheelers will also be able to operate without any injustice being done to them.

“In order to rebuild the country, which is facing an economic crisis, we must work to create a public service that will stop theft, fraud and corruption and work with discipline”.

“We fulfill the responsibility of protecting and advocating for the employees as well as state property. I hope that the government employees as well as the local people will get the support of everyone for the work done with a good cause and for public welfare.

Anuradhapura Atamasthanadhipathi, Chief Sanghanayake of Nuwara Kalaviya,Ven.Pallegama Hemarathana Nayake Thera, Ruwanweli Chaityaramadhipathi, Chancellor of the Rajarata University, Venerable Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanathilaka Nayaka Thera, and Maha sangha, former Minister, MP S.M. Chandrasena, former Chief Minister of North Central Province Ranjith Samarakoon,Sri Lanka Transport Board Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Kulathilake, Deputy General Manager (Operations) Panduka Swarnahansa, and officials from the Railway Department as well as a large crowd of people were present on this occasion.

 
 
 
 
 

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