8 Oct

Local monitors note change in political culture

Local election monitors today noted a positive change in Sri Lanka’s political culture which was having an impact on the Parliamentary elections.The Peoples Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said that collective action had led to the positive change and this should now be maintained. He said there were less reports of State resources being used ahead of election day and Government vehicles which were used, had been returned following the intervention of the Elections Commissioner. Hettiarachi also hailed the measures taken by the police and the Elections Commissioner to prevent violations of elections laws.He said the powers with the Elections Commissioner has been boosted as a result of the 19th Amendment to the constitution and so those who backed the 19th Amendment must also be commended. PAFFREL meanwhile urged the public to select suitable candidates to represent them in Parliament when they go to vote on Monday.Hettiarachi also said that simply because someone had a bad past record does not mean he is clean now when contesting the election. (Colombo Gazette) The Executive Director of PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachi said that when compared to past elections there has been a considerable drop in pre election violations reported ahead of the August 17 polls. read more

8 Oct

Indian officials say 31 boats held in Sri Lanka can be salvaged

A seven-member team, led by G S Sameeran, Additional Director of Fisheries, which inspected 42 trawlers impounded by Sri Lankan Navy in March 2015 and ordered to be released by the Government of the island nation, has said 31 boats could be salvaged after repair work, The Hindu newspaper reported.The team, which returned to India on Sunday evening after assessing the condition of the boats berthed in Kankesanthurai, Karainagar, Mannar and Trincomallee in northern Sri Lanka and Puthalam in the west from August 17 to 20, said even the 31 boats could only be towed back in view of the bad condition of their engines. Of the 42 trawlers impounded in Sri Lanka, 36 belonged to Tamil Nadu fishermen and six to fishermen from Karaikal in the Union Territory of Puducherry. Of the 36 trawlers owned by fishermen of Rameswaram (11), Nagapattinam (24) and Pudukottai (1), 27 could be salvaged after repair, while nine have to be disposed of as scrap in Sri Lanka itself, sources in the team said. Pictures of the extensively damaged trawlers were shown to the owners and they would be scrapped in consultation with them, they said. Fishermen in the salvage team would be accompanied by carpenters and mechanics to carry out necessary repair work. The State government would bear the cost of fuel and minor repair work.Four of the six boats belonging to Karaikal fishermen could be salvaged after repair and it would be done by a separate team. Two of their boats had to be condemned, the sources said. After the team submitted a report to the government in a couple of days, salvage operation would begin in the first week of September, official sources said. After the release of trawlers, 130 boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen would still be in the custody of Sri Lankan Government. Fishermen who were part of the inspection team urged the Central and State Governments to secure the release of all the boats at the earliest.Most of the boats, which were confiscated in the later part of 2015 and early 2016, had suffered extensive damage. Only about 50 trawlers, which were impounded recently, were in good condition, they said. (Colombo Gazette) read more