Sri Lanka’s Dengue Prevention Programme has been highly commended by the World Health Organization(WHO), although Opposition members and the Government Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA) had not been able to witness them, said Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Minister Rajitha Senaratne.
He also pointed out that it was Sri Lanka that has a National Dengue Prevention Programme in the South Asian Region, adding that only 48 people in Sri Lanka had died in 2016 which was only 0.2 percent of the affected people. He added that there was a reduction of the deaths out of the affected people.
“We have trained two consultants to treat dengue affected patients. We sent them to Thailand as theirs was the best programme for it,” Minister Senaratne said. “Those two had been attached to the Mulleriyawa Hospital and Negombo Hospital respectively.”
“Changing weather conditions throughout the world have not only given rights to floods and landslides, but also to the global dengue epidemic,” Minister Senaratne said. “This has turned into a global issue, while the GMOA was unaware such matters. Now they have stepped into politics rather than studying theses changes.”
Minister Senaratne made these observations yesterday, in response to a special statement made by the Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardena under Standing Order 23(2). He charged that there had been 45,000 cases of Dengue in Sri Lanka this year. ” The statement that had been made by Health authorities that they alone could not handle the situation is a clear indication on how grave the situation had turned into,” the MP said.
Minister Senaratne responding to Gunawardena, said that the US Centre for Disease Control, had sent 900 dengue alerts across the globe to date. “Out of which, 400 alerts have been sent out to countries in the Asian region,” Minister Senaratne said. “Sri Lanka is also affected by the global epidemic, while South Asia is the region which is mostly hit by the disease.”
The minister said that it had been found that the Dengue Virus 1 and 3 is also present in Sri Lanka at the moment. He said the worst affected age group by the disease in Sri Lanka were young adults and the aged.
The minister said a series of precautions have been taken to prevent the disease in Sri Lanka, such as carrying out constant checks on places such as schools. Further, he said a special ward has been set up at the Infectious Disease Hospital ( IDH) in Mulleriyawa and Negombo.
To purchase vehicles, renovate official residences of ministries:
Govt. submits supplementary allocation to Parliament for Rs. 369 million
A supplementary allocation was submitted by the Government yesterday seeking the approval of Parliament for a sum of about Rs 369 million to purchase vehicles for several ministries and renovate official residences of some ministries.
Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella presented the Supplementary allocation to the House which was referred to the Public Finance Committee for approval.
According to the allocation, approval of the House had been sought for Rs 154 million to purchase new vehicles for the Defence Ministry, Rs 120 million to purchase vehicles for the Finance Ministry, Rs 43 million to purchase a vehicle for the Rural Economy Deputy Minister and Rs 16 million to purchase a vehicle for the Development Strategies and International Trade Minister.
However, the notes of the supplementary allocation said funds are being spent for vehicles as the monies allocated for the purchase of vehicles in 2016 had not been utilized.
In addition, it also sought the approval of Parliament for Rs 3.4 million for the repairs of the official residence of Social Empowerment and Social Welfare Minister, Rs 1.2 million for the repairs of the official residence of Digital Infrastructure Development Minister, Rs 6.4 million to renovate the official residence of Childcare and Welfare Minister and Rs 5.9 million for the renovation of Central Province Governor’s official residence.
It had also sought approval for Rs 124 million for Parliament to meet shortfall of provisions for personal emoluments. Moreover, Rs 1 billion has been sought to the Higher Education and Highways Ministry for the settlement of outstanding bills of road projects.
The Supplementary allocation further noted that: “However, this supplementary provision does not change the approved total expenditure limits of the annual estimate by Parliament.
The allocation of such purposes had been made under the Project of Budgetary Support Services and Contingent Liabilities of the Department of National Budget and it is under the limit of the approved annual budget. Therefore, either the burrowing limit or the maximum limit of total expenditure will not be increased due to granting of these supplementary provisions.”
Dinesh condemns threats, attacks against minority communities
As the Ramazan season begins, the Muslim community is engulfed in fear due to anti-Muslim violence, floods and the Dengue epidemic, MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena said.
MP Gunawardena yesterday in Parliament, condemned the threats and attacks against the minority communities.
“As reported, about 71 houses and properties belonging to Muslims have come under threat and attack. We in the Joint Opposition, vehemently condemn such incidents despite who are behind them. As the fasting season begins, the Muslims have faced many problems. I request the Government to pay special attention to this situation,” he said.
Book making unwarranted changes to legislation::
Dy Speaker wants the book be given for Speaker’s perusal
Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala yesterday, asked MP Bandula Gunawardena to hand over Attorney-at-Law Kalyananda Thiranagama’s book that accused Parliament of making unwarranted changes to legislation after their passage for the perusal of the Speaker.
He made this direction thwarting an attempt by Joint Opposition MP Gunawardena to table the said book in Parliament asking for an investigation over the allegations.
MP Gunawardena said the author of the book has alleged that certain officials were involved in changing the clauses of legislation after their passage in the House. MP Dullas Alahapperuma explained the allegation in the book was that certain clauses added to the 19th Amendment were not actually passed in Parliament.
Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said if the MP is tabling the book he should state whether he agrees or disagrees with the allegations made in it. The Deputy Speaker also maintained that tabling the book would in turn give legal recognition to it.
“It is better to refer the book to the Speaker than tabling it. Then we will take necessary action in that regard,” he said.
Kiriella demanded the Joint Opposition to read out any clause in the 19th Amendment which was not passed in Parliament. As the Joint Opposition could not mention any, Kiriella said the allegation was false and that there are no such clauses.
The Deputy Speaker also told Parliament that a new set of Standing Orders have been drafted and its copies would soon be circulated among all MPs to take a final decision on it.
Sittings limited to three and a half hours for MPs to assist in rescue operations
Parliamentary sittings was limited to three and half hours yesterday, enabling the members to assist in the rescue operations and distribution of relief to the victims of the severe flood situation that the country is facing.
The Party Leaders meeting headed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya called instantly in Parliament at 11.45 am after suspending the sittings temporarily, decided that the sittings should be limited until 2 pm yesterday and allow the members to go to their districts to assist the flood victims.
The decision to end sessions early was reached following the members from the government side and the opposition urged that the stiff action to help the victims of land slides and floods should be taken.
Leader of the House and Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had given instructions to take all steps to assist the flood victims. He said that the Tri-Forces have also been instructed to help rescue the victims with boats and to provide them with relief. He also added that such a similar flood was experienced when he was the Plantation Industries Minister in 2003.
Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardena pointed out that quick action should be taken to provide emergency assistance to the victims of the flood that seems to be the worst flood that hit the country since 2003. He added that the President as well as the Disaster Management Minister are out of the country and Premier Wickremesinghe was to leave within a few hours.
“However, emergency assistance should be provided to people affected by the floods,” MP Gunawardena said. “By this time, people in several areas are hanging on trees for protection. The Kiriella village in Ratnapura District is being inundated even at this moment while Minister Kiriella is joining in the debates. ”
“All measure have already been taken to rescue the victims and to provide them relief by the tri forces, while the Disaster Management Centre had taken immediate action,” Minister Kiriella said. “Boats and aircraft are provided for rescue operations.”
Joint Opposition MP Dullas Alahapperuma said the Sapugoda Vihara where Ven Omare Kassapa Thera lived had gone under water, while a major bridge which connects Akuressa and Kamburupitiya has been damaged.
Government MP Buddhika Pathirana also called for action stating that several districts had already gone under water.
JVP Member Nihal Galappaththi suggested that sessions should be adjourned early, enabling MPs to go and help the victims of their respective districts.
Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala who was presiding at the moment, observed that the situation would turn worse today as the rains were continuously falling heavily in many areas. He then adjourned sessions for ten minutes calling for an emergency meeting of Party Leaders. Party Leaders later decided to end sessions at 2 pm to allow the MPs to participate in rescue operations and in relief distribution. The Party leaders also decided to continue sittings without the lunch break. The sittings resumed at 12 noon.
Conspiracy to withhold results of 2015 elections::The two ministries passing the buck, says Gammanpila
The Justice Ministry and Law and Order Ministry are passing the buck over a complaint made to the CID regarding a conspiracy to withhold the results of the Presidential Election on the night of January 8, 2015, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader Udaya Gammanpila said.
The MP made this observation in Parliament yesterday, following a reply by Justice Deputy Minister Sarathi Dushmantha Mithrapala on the progress of the above mentioned complaint.
The Deputy Minister told Parliament that the Attorney General’s Department received a CID report in this regard in February 2015, but it has requested further details pertaining to the case to determine whether there was enough evidence to file a criminal charge. The Department is yet to receive that additional information, he said.
MP Gammanpila pointed out that when he asked the same question from Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratanayake in Parliament, he replied that the CID was waiting for legal advice from the AG’s Department. “Both parties are passing the buck. This complaint was made by Minister Mangala Samaraweera and I was the first suspect in it. The complaint was related to national security. The way this complaint is handled makes us question the state of national security in the country,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said that investigations have not been stalled and it would be carried forward once the required information is received.