‘Train drivers could be appointed on contract basis after retirement’

The Government is considering to continue receiving the service of special skilled workers such as locomotive drivers on contract basis after they retire at 60, Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana said in Parliament yesterday (21).

Gunawardana made this observation when Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Ashoka Abeysinghe raised a concern regarding the matter. MP Abeysinghe pointed out that there are many train drivers who will have to retire soon due to the 60 year age limitation for government employees brought forward by the Government recently. Abeysinghe pointed out that if a considerable number of drivers retire in the same period of time, the train service would be affected. He warned of a possible hindrance to the service if it is not met with an adequate solution.

In reply, Minister Gunawardana noted that in a situation like this, the Government shall continue to get the service of such employees on contract basis.

‘New tourism zones to be identified’

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said in Parliament yesterday that a programme to identify new tourism zones is being carried out at the provincial level and all ministries including the Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Ministries have jointly implemented a special programme in this regard.

The Minister said that a special Cabinet Sub-Committee has been appointed for this purpose and the work is being done at the provincial level by that committee.

The Minister mentioned that the arrival of tourists to the island is gradually increasing and a special programme is being implemented targeting the months of November and December.

Pointing out that there is no proper calculation regarding the amount of money spent by tourists coming to this country and some foreign tourists do not even use a guide during their trip, the Minister said that he hopes to get a TDL licence to expand the tourism industry.

Minister Fernando said that in identifying the tourist hotspots in certain areas, there are objections from the people of those areas and these problems will be resolved when the above sub-committee is implemented.

‘High-quality  local rice  now available’

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said in Parliament yesterday that high-quality rice produced by local farmers is now available in the market.

He was responding to a question by MP Mayantha Dissanayake.

The Minister said that the country had to import a certain amount of rice due to the shortage prevailing in the country. But now we have rice produced by local farmers in the market and the quality of rice produced by our farmers is high.


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