Cabinet appoints Sub-Committee on 73rd Independence
By Thameenah Razeek
The Cabinet approved the resolution submitted by the Minister of Irrigation and the State Minister of Internal Defence, Home Affairs and Disaster Management Chamal Rajapaksa for the appointment of the following Ministerial Sub-Committee for organising and monitoring the 73rd Independence Day celebrations on 4 February 2021. The Members of the Sub-Committee are Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ministers Professor G.L. Peiris, Dinesh Gunawardena, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Keheliya Rambukwella, Chamal Rajapaksa, Dullas Alahapperuma and Vasudeva Nanayakkara.
Other Cabinet decisions; Construction of multistoried vehicle parking premises
A programme to construct and maintain vehicle parks by investors selected on an open competitive procurement process has been planned with a view to minimise the daily traffic congestions caused due to the influx of vehicles towards Colombo and the suburbs. Accordingly, the Cabinet approved the resolution furnished by the Prime Minister as the Minister of Urban Development and Housing for the implementation of this project under the invitation of proposals from private sector investors for the construction of general multistoried vehicle parking premises and mechanical parking stations in eight venues within Colombo and the Cities of Battaramulla, Anuradhapura and Kandy as a State-private joint venture.
The invitation of proposals for the construction of general multistoried vehicle parking premises and mechanical parking stations in Narahenpita, the Telecom car park in the Pettah, the parking venue at the Otters Sports Club – Colombo 07 and Kynsey Avenue – with other appropriate projects including housing units and office spaces, so that the expenditure for the project can be generated from the project itself, on a presale basis, was approved.
Railway workers residing on reserve lands
The Railways Department possesses approximately 14,000 acres of reserved land. About 10% of them are leased to various parties. About 80% of the remaining land is occupied without permission. These unauthorised occupants include Departmental officers, as well as those who are retired. These lands are being used for unauthorised construction of houses and business premises and cultivation. Some Railway employees who illegally acquired those lands were removed through Court action. There have also been instances of disciplinary action taken against them with the suspension of pensions. Accordingly, the Cabinet approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Transport Gamini Lokuge to appoint a Ministerial committee to make recommendations to the Cabinet, after studying the matter. The proposed committee consists, Gamini Lokuge (Chairman), Ministers Janaka Bandara Tennakoon and S.M. Chandrasena and State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal.
Amendments to the Intellectual Property Act
There are a number of local products that can be promoted as geographical indications. Such products face big competition due to the counterfeit imitations in the local and foreign markets. It has been identified as appropriate to register such products in Sri Lanka as geographical indicators. Accordingly, the Cabinet approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Trade to advice the Legal Draftsman for a Bill to amend the said Act, with the provisions to establish a comprehensive and definite legal framework for the registration of geographical indications in Sri Lanka.
Greater Colombo Water and Wastewater Management
The rehabilitation and expansion of the water supply system and limiting the free of charge water supply in the North Eastern part of the City of Colombo and the rehabilitation and expansion of the wastewater system in the Southern catchment area of Colombo are being carried out under the Greater Colombo Water and Wastewater Management Improvement Investment Programme.
The projects under this programme were planned to be carried out during the period from 2012 to 24 October 2022. Two loan facilities provided under phase three of the programme for the following projects to be implemented using this loan facility: providing new wastewater gravity pipes, pressure pipes and pumping stations in the Kirulapone catchment area, the construction of the Wellawatte wastewater treatment plant, the rehabilitation and expansion of water supply systems in the North-Eastern and South-Western parts of the Colombo City and limiting the free of charge water supply, and the procurement of vehicles and office equipment and conducting training workshops to assist the Project Management Unit of the Colombo Municipal Council. The current loan facility under phase three of this programme is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020 and accordingly the proposal by the Minister of Public Service, Provincial Councils and Local Government to extend the loan facility to 24 October 2022 was approved by the Cabinet.
Accelerating development activities
The Cabinet approved the proposal tabled by the Prime Minister as the Minister of Finance to submit a report to the Cabinet once in three months on development projects which could be implemented expediently with the approval of the Secretary to the Treasury and other authorities and introducing a new procedure to ensure a continuous cash flow for key development projects by issuing Treasury guarantees or facilitation letters to their banks, which enable to pay contractors for the work completed without interruption in order to minimise delays and accelerate development activities.
After identifying that the Ministries should obtain the approval of several institutions and finally the Cabinet for general matters not relevant to policy matters and regulatory requirements which delay payments made to private contractors, and go to cause delays in development projects increasing project costs.