Parliament | Daily News


SLFP stalwarts feared opposing MR’s deals: No outright sale of Mattala - Minister Siripala de Silva

The SLFP stalwarts maintained silence when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was giving away the Port City and Shangri-La to Chinese companies as they feared the repercussions of opposing the deal, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament yesterday.

The Minister made this observation in response to an adjournment motion moved by Joint Opposition MP Dullas Alahapperuma on last week clash between police and protestors at Mattala.

The Minister said that the Government had not taken any decision if it would give Mattala Airport to India or not.

“Today media is ruining the country,” the Minister said. “It is setting the country on fire searching for issues to attack the Government. We have not made any decision to give the airport under a 99 year lease. We decided only to seek investors to run the Mattala Airport efficiently.”

Minister Silva said that there were 574 workers at Mattala airport in 2013. He said that the number of passengers came to the airport was only 1,451.

“In 2014, the number of passengers was 2,578; in 2015, the figure was 1,044; in 2016, it was 1,317. This year so far we got only 1,274 passengers,” Minister Silva said. “Planes do not land at the place we want. The Mattala Airport does not have modern facilities,” he said.

“We are not selling it off giving it outright to them,” the Minister said. “Indian investors like to improve the Mattala Airport as a joint venture with the company running the BIA. We have asked for a detailed report. There is no final decision yet. The SLFP does not belong to a single family. We have a right for the party. We spend tenfold of income of the Mattala Airport to maintain it. It is a national crime,” the Minister said.


PC Elections (Amendment) Bill duly passed: Speaker

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya observed in Parliament yesterday that the Provincial Council Elections (Amendment) Bill was duly passed in Parliament in accordance with the Parliamentary Standing Orders.

The Speaker was clarifying the media reports on the passage of the Bill through Parliament. He said some newspapers had reported that the Bill was not passed properly which was incorrect. “I observed that a false public opinion is being formed on passing the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) bill on Sept 20. The reports were published and aired by both print and electronic media,” the Speaker said.

“On the day the Bill and its amendments were discussed in length at the House committee and party leaders were informed of them. There was a need for an additional time to draft some of the amendments and the process came to an end around 7.45 pm. There was no delay or additional increase of time of the sittings of the House. When the House received relevant amendments and the debate came to an end, the Bill was taken for the third reading and was duly passed in accordance with the Standing Orders,” he said.

Sanctions imposed on North Korea as per UNSC decision: Marapana

The Government imposed sanctions against North Korea in accordance with a decision taken by the UN Security Council, Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana said in Parliament yesterday.

He said Parliament passed an Act urging the G overnment to act in accordance with the decisions taken by the UN Security Council and if we worked otherwise, the country would have to face the repercussions.

He was responding to a query made by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissaanyake, who wanted to know why the Government imposed sanctions against North Korea without keeping Parliament informed.

Foreign Minister Marapana said the UN Security Council made a decision to impose sanctions on North Korea. “Accordingly, we too made a decision. This is not a decision taken overnight. We have already delayed very much to impose the sanctions,” he said. Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said that if the opposition needed to talk long on the matter they could ask for a separate debate.

“There is a parliament act which states that we are in agreement with the decisions made by the UN,” he said.

Parliament passes three amendment bills

Three amendments bills - the Municipal Councils (Amendment) Bill, Urban Councils (Amendment) Bill, and the Pradeshiya Sabah (Amendment) Bil - were passed in Parliament yesterday.

Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha commenced the second reading debates on the three bills stating that the Ward System and the First Past the Post System would also increase the women’s representation in Parliament.

The Minister said that by passing the three bills, all the hindrances to hold the LG elections would be removed and the Government would hold the elections in January next year.

Government will not increase oil prices: Ranatunga

The Government has not decided to increase the oil prices, Petroleum Resources Development Minister Arjuna Ranatunga assured in Parliament yesterday.

He said the Lanka IOC expressed their wish to increase the fuel prices, but the Government would not allow them to increase.

Minister Ranatunga was responding yesterday to a query made by Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardena , who said that there was a public opinion that the Lanka IOC was given permission to increase the fuel prices.

“Had the Government decided a formula to increase the fuel prices and privatise the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on the instructions of the IMF?” he queried. Minister Ranatunga said the CPC has not taken any decision to increase the prices.

“We have informed the Lanka IOC not to increase the prices now,” the Minister said.

“The CPC incurred losses because of the relief given to the people. Those issues would be presented to the House during the budget debate. There would be no increases of electricity prices and the CEB would not be affected,” he said.

He said no decision was taken to privatise the CPC. “We needed a price formula for the fuel prices owing to the price fluctuations in the world market. We needed the formula to keep local prices stable,” he said.

The Minister said the Government reduced the petrol prices to Rs. 117 from Rs. 150, Super Petrol Price to Rs. 128 from Rs. 198. The price of super diesel was reduced to Rs. 110 from Rs. 133, while the kerosene oil price was reduced to Rs. 44 from Rs. 81.












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