Anura should be the common candidate of the opposition – Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

“The UNP is like the dog in the manger. The dog doesn’t eat straw, nor does it leave it to someone else. The UNP has no strength to contest with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and win,” says Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka.

Speaking to a weekend newspaper Dr. Jayatilleka says, “There are many issues regarding Rev. Sobitha’s knowledge on politics and his ability to administrate. I don’t think Rev. Sobitha could get many votes.

Under such an environment the JVP should turn its attention to make changes to come forward as a national force for the presidential election. I think Anura Kumara Dissanayaka should be announced as the presidential candidate. Then the masses could be exhilarated and through it a significant leap forward could be achieved,” says Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka.

Soldiers left in the lurch while VIPs celebrate victory

After considering the petition filed by 292 disabled soldiers against the decision of the government not to pay their monthly salaries until they reach the retirement age, the Court of Appeal gave time to the government to settle the matter. It was when the counsel representing the Army Commander stated there was a possibility of settling the matter amicably and requested for more time.

According to Army legal provisions when a soldier is disabled he is paid a monthly salary until he is entitled for the pension when he reaches 55 years of age. However, at present government pays monthly salaries only for soldiers who were disabled after the end of the war complain soldiers.

About 6000 disabled soldiers are confronted with this issue at present.

Govt. follows policy of allowing issues to escalate & manipulates masses to clash with each other – JVP

The government, instead of solving problems, allows them to escalate and a good example for this is the incident that occurred at Alawwa Railway Station yesterday (20th) when passengers assaulted the engine driver said Information Secretary of the JVP Vijitha Herath.

Speaking at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (21st) Mr. Herath said, “By now the passenger transport sector has moved towards a national crisis. A large number of train passengers as well as bus passengers have become victims of this crisis. Even when relevant ministers are made aware of the issues they pay attention to other matters without attempting to find answers for the problems.

The incident that occurred at Alawwa yesterday where engine drivers were assaulted is a reflection of this pathetic situation. A clash occurred between train commuters and Railway employees due to the reasons that simmer underneath in the system. The trains are fully crowded so that there is no space to breath properly. In such a situation when trains get late the passengers release their anger by assaulting Railway employees. What they did was to give vent to their anger without looking for the real reason.

The JVP emphasizes that the government is responsible for this situation. What was experienced was the move of the government to escalate issues. There are maintenance issues, issues in the signal system and a dearth of railway engines that are not in proper running order in the Department of Railways. The Minister and his henchmen did not pay attention to these issues. The signals system is outdated and is in a dilapidated condition.

New technology has not been used. Also, financial situation and breakdown of administration have intensified the crisis. Funds annually allocated for the Department of Railways are spent for propaganda projects of the minister and the government. One such example is the ‘Dayata Kirula’ pageant. Following statistics explains the real situation in the sector. 684 guards are needed to sun the railways properly. However, there are only 370 at present. (There are 326 vacancies). Despite 482 engine drivers are needed, there are only 354. (128 vacancies). 50 Grade 1 station Masters are needed for the system. There is only one at present. The system also needs 5254 Technical Officers. There are only 2636 at present. 8603 Asst. Technical Officers are needed for the system. However, only 5238 serve at present.

A train with 5 compartments should have one guard. If there are more than five compartments there should be two guards. The train that crashed at Pothuhara had 12 compartments, two engines and was run as a special inter-city train. Only a 65 year old guard serving on contract basis was on duty in this train. In the end engine drivers are blamed. The Minister made the reckless statement that passengers will take the situation into their hands if the situation doesn’t improve. What emerged at Alawwa was the consequence of this statement.  The passengers released their pressure on the Railway employees. The Ministry should be responsible for the property of the Department, the passengers as well as its employees. Not only trains, even ships that are anchored clash with each other at present.

Government ministers, without providing basic facilities for the masses, are engaged in election campaigns of their offspring. The policy of creating clashes between employees and masses without removing the real reasons for issues should be immediately stopped. We saw at Wilpattu Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen, who was responsible for the incident, and organizations that were against the act were allowed to clash and the President followed a silent policy. What should have been done was to mediate immediately and solve the issue. Instead, an opportunity was created for a communal clash. The clash between midwives and nurses is a similar manipulation. Both nurses and midwives want to serve the masses well. The government, however, doesn’t support this good intention but allows them to clash with each other and looks on. Before receiving the presidency of the World Health Organization the issues between nurses and midwives should be resolved. Ministers and governments that are not able to do so would not serve any purpose. Their getting chairman’s or president’s posts of world bodies would not serve the masses. The government should solve issues in this country. A clash has been allowed to develop between Allied Health Services and Government Medical Officers Association. Clashes between former pupils and parents of pupils in schools all over the country have been allowed to develop. This is how government’s policy is implemented. The government has allowed issues to escalate and pays its attention to vulgarization of the economy with large scale casinos and the underworld. A large number of commuters are severely inconvenienced daily. We have drawn attention to these issues often. There was plenty of time to find solutions. As this is not a government that listens to people’s views, we could never expect any solutions. We demand the government to find solutions for the issues immediately. The genuine issues behind the clashes between commuters and employees should be solved.”

Water, water everywhere but…

The government is preparing to sell the right for water stating that people are using water resources improperly for their personal benefit, it should be stopped immediately, as a remedy the right of water resources and its use should be handed over to a certain party and a proper tariff for water should be introduced. Initially, plans are afoot to sell water used for cultivation and for producing hydro electricity. This has been revealed in the Central Bank report issued a few days ago.

As a result farmer community and electricity consumers will have to pay extra fees and generally prices of all goods and services would increase. Selling drinking water, the first step towards selling water resources, is being carried out successfully. This has diluted the concept of selling water and what is left is to sell water needed for cultivation and electricity generation.

Gang of thugs hidden, statement not taken yet from Hemal

No statement has been taken yet from the Deputy Minister Hemal Gunasekera even when it has been confirmed by the statement of the constable attached to the police unit on duty on the Southern Expressway that the gang of thugs that shot at him and set fire to his car after failing to murder him has been directed by Deputy Minister and he is directly involved in the murder attempt say reports.

Deputy Minister has not been questioned even regarding the threat he made to the police constable who gave him a ‘spot fine’ for driving his car exceeding speed limits. The Deputy Minister has threatened him saying he would be sent to ‘Weligama within a week.’

According to a very reliable source the gang of thugs involved in the incident is staying in a VIP house under the protection of the Deputy Minister.

Media had reported that Katayam Chinthaka aka Chinthaka Wasantha, who was the main suspect of the murder of police constable and his wife at Kamburupitiya, had been a manipulator of Hemal Gunasekera’s gangs of thugs and drug rackets. Later, he was killed in a police operation.