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Cabinet decisions- 28-09-2020

The decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the 28.09.2020

1. Taking further measures regarding the residents in the houses reported to have been prone to high risk due to a geographical instability in the district of Polonnaruwa. Walls of 223 houses in 06 Grama Niladhari divisions under the purview of the Divisional Secretariat of Hingurakgoda in the district of Polonnaruwa have been unusually cracked due to a geographical instability within the earth causing the risk of dismantling them. Residents of 67 houses identified to have been severely damaged and not suitable to live in should be evacuated with immediate effect to a suitable place and resettle. Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been granted at a previous meeting held on 27 th June 2017 for a methodology for the construction of permanent houses for families residing within high risk zones of earth slips and, accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved to take following necessary measures considering the proposal tabled by the Minister of Irrigation and the State Minister of Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management.

 Evacuation of residents from the houses identified as in the high - risk state and settle them temporarily in another secure place.

 Provision of a house rental as an allowance for a period of 06 months subject to a maximum of Rs. 10,000.00 per month for a family settled as such.

 Implementation of an accelerated housing scheme with required necessary infrastructure facilities by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing and provision of houses to be awarded to the families to be evacuated.
 If the proposed housing scheme cannot be implemented within a short period, provision of following reliefs granted under the programme of resettlement of families evacuated due to high -
risk of earth slips subject to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers taken on the 27 th June 2017 to families displaced due to disaster in the Divisional Secretariat of Hingurakgoda.

i. Allocation of rupees 1.6 million to buy a land with a house.
ii. Allocation of rupees 0.4 million to buy a land to build a house and rupees 1.2 million for
the construction of a house within.
iii. If government lands have been allocated, releasing rupees 1.2 million for the construction of a house.

2. Renovation and conservation of Deeghawapi temple

His Excellency the President has established a Presidential Task Force for the management of archaeological heritages within the eastern province and, the task force has planned to raise a fund for the immediate reconstruction and conservation of the Deeghawapi temple considered as the main temple in the province. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted their approval for the proposal submitted by His Excellency the President to establish a trust fund for the collection of funds for performing the renovation and conservation activities and to carry out these renovation and conservation activities by a sub - committee appointed representing both state and private sectors chaired by the Secretary of Defence, Major General (Rtd) Kamal Gunarathne under and the
supporting committees and under the supervision of the Presidential Task Force.

3. Completion of the project to upgrade the old water refinery plant of the Kirindi Oya water supply scheme.

The emergency upgrading project of the old water refinery plant of Kirindi Oya water supply scheme was entrusted with the State Engineering Corporation by the previous subject Ministry of Housing in the year 2019. However, this project has not yet been completed and its progress by not is only 40%. The present volume of the old refinery has been reduced back to 50% for this construction work and the community in the area has confronted with extreme difficulties due to inability to obtain sufficient water. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal submitted by the Hon. Prime Minister as the Minister of Urban Development and Housing to entrust the responsibility of implementing the project to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board with the intention of completing this project with immediate effect.

4. Joint participation (Co - participation) of the University of Peradeniya with the Department of Animal Products and Health to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Royal Veterinary College of United Kingdom to implement the One Health Poultry Hub project.

The University of Peradeniya in conjunction with (Co - participation) the Department of Animal Products and Health has planned to jointly implement a research project as One Health Poultry Hub with the Royal Veterinary College of the United Kingdom with the contribution of the Research Fund for Global Challenges of the United Kingdom.

It it expected from this research project to improve the chicken and egg production, identification and directing the production activities to an accurate path utilizing the technical and human resources by developing them subsequent to identification of issues when directing local poultry industry towards the export market. The Research Fund for Global Challenges of the United Kingdom has agreed to award 700,000 Sterling Pounds for this project for a period of 05 years. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has given their consent to the proposal submitted by the Minister of Education for entering into the memorandum of understanding for the said research project between the said parties.

 

5. Requirement of a working capital for the maintenance of secure stocks of rice from October 2020 to January 2021.

The rice requirement during the months from October to January is accomplished with the security stocks maintained from the rice produced during the other months since, no production of rice within the country is performed during those months. Accordingly, it has been estimated of rupees 2,241 million to maintain a secure stock of approximately 25,000 metric tons including the storing cost requirement for maintaining a secure stock for the period of four (04) months from October 2020 to January 2021. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval for the proposal submitted by the Minister of Marketing for the issuance of a letter of credit from the General Treasury for four (04) months as a working capital from the People’s Bank to Lanka Sathosa so that
the activity can be entrusted to that institution.

6. Carrying out printing activities of government and semi government institutions by the Government Printing Department

 

As the Official Printer of the Government, the Department of Government Printing has the potential of carrying out a significant portion of the printing requirements of government and semi- government institutions. But it has been found that these institutions pay large sums of money annually to local and foreign private companies for their printing works. According to the proposal made by the Minister of Mass Media and Information the Cabinet of Ministers decided that all Government and Semi-Government Institutions which do not have printing presses under the relevant Ministries should take steps to carry out such printing work from the Government Printing Department Not exceeding 25% of the value of printing requirements.

7. Pilot project to provide eco-friendly fertilizer as subsidy for the Maha season 2020/2021 The Cabinet approval has been granted on 20.02.2020 for the implementation of a pilot project of providing organic fertilizer subsidy from the Yala season 2020, under the Chemical Fertilizer Subsidy Program and to allocate Rs. 250 million for this project.

Accordingly, around 25,000 hectares in 14 districts have been cultivated with paddy using compost, organic liquid fertilizer and organic Bio fertilizers. This has reduced the use of chemical fertilizers
by 30% - 50%. Taking into consideration the success achieved by implementing the pilot project, the proposal made by the Minister of Agriculture to cultivate 48,000 hectares of paddy using eco- friendly fertilizer during the Maha season 2020/2021 was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

8. Legal Provisions to ban Anti-personnel Mine On December 13, 2017, Sri Lanka Signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

In accordance with the section 9 of the Convention, Sri Lanka should enact provisions required for the implementation of the Convention and appropriate legal provisions and other actions, including
penalties for prevention and suppression of such acts should be included therein. . Relevant bill has been already prepared by the legal draftsman and the cabinet of ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Justice to advise the legal draftsman r to complete the preparation of the said Bill including the observations made by the Attorney General.

9. Amendment of Code of Criminal Procedure Act No 15 of 1979 In order to prevent future occurrence of unfortunate and violent incidents in taking prisoners to court, amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act No 15 of 1979 have been submitted to Parliament to empower the Magistrate to remove the need of the presence of suspects or accused
before the Magistrate to extend the remand orders. However approval could not be obtained due to the prorogation of Parliament.

Taking into account the present Covid-19 epidemic situation the cabinet of Ministers approved proposal presented by the Minister of Justice to provide audio-visual communication facility for the accused and suspects to appear before the courts and to provide such facilities to the accused and suspects who are already being rehabilitated under a court order of an another case. It was decided to advise the legal draftsman to draft the bill accordingly.

10. Establishment of a special unit under the Ministry of Justice to strengthen the process of justice.

It appears that delays in the judicial process in Sri Lanka have severely affected the people involved as well as the country's economy. In 2016, the National Law Committee presented a report on the various issues that cause delays in cases, the adverse consequences that result from these issues, and the proposed solutions. By the end of 2019, there were 766,784 pending cases in the courts of the country and urgent action should be taken in this regard.

It has been identified that necessary steps need to be taken through infrastructure development, legal reform, judicial automation and capacity building to address the issues that cause delays in
cases. Accordingly, taking into consideration the proposal made by the Minister of Justice, the Cabinet approved the establishment of a special unit under the Ministry of Justice to implement a Judicial Reform Program within a period of 3 years with the assistance of legal experts.

11. School Uniform Materials Gant Program 2021 Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted on 10.06.2020 to provide school uniform materials from local manufacturers instead of gift vouchers for school uniforms.

Relevant procurement process has been initiated accordingly. Only four local textile manufacturers have submitted bids. They have already produced about 40% of the total textile requirement. It has been confirmed that by the end of January 2021 they will be able to meet the total requirement. Considering the facts presented by the Minister of Education on providing school uniform materials the cabinet of Ministers and approved the proposal presented by him take necessary measures to purchase the total school uniform material requirement from local manufactures and to provide school children with uniform materials instead of vouchers.

12. Procurement of North Central Main Canal and Wayamba Main Canal under the Mahaweli Water Security Investment Program.

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to secure US $ 675 million funds for the construction of Phase I and the Feasibility Study of Phase 2 of the Mahaweli Water Security Investment Program. 10 out of the 17 contract packages planned under the first phase of the project have already been awarded. Cabinet of Ministers approved the following proposals presented by the Minister of Irrigation on construction procurement of the North Central Main Canal and the North Western

Main Canal under that program.
 China CAMC Engineering Company Ltd. has submitted bids for the construction of the Mahakithula Access Tunnel, Maha Kitula and Mahakirula Storage Reservoirs and the construction of the feed canal from Mahakithula Reservoir to Mahakiru Reservoir. It was decided to take measures to award this contract to the said company at the prices agreed upon by the negotiating agreement with the institution.

 The 95.86 Km long North Central Main Canal project is designed to supply drinking water and water for cultivations in North Central province and up to Vavuniya District in Northern Province. 28 km long tunnel has been planned across the Minneriya, Girithale and Hurulu nature reserves and sanctuaries of the North Central Main Canal Construction Project. It was decided to award this contract China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd at an amount agreed upon in consultation with the Company .

 

13. Awarding long term contract to import diesel for a period of 8 months.

Upon the recommendation of cabinet appointed special procurement committee, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal made by the Minister of Energy to award long term procurement of diesel for a period of eight months from 15.10.2020 to 14.06.2021 as follows:

 To award the procurement of 1,365,000 barrels of diesel with 0.05 maximum sulfur percentage and 315,000 barrels of diesel with 0.001maximum sulfur percentage to M/s Emirates National Oil Company, Singapore (ENOC)
 To award the procurement of 1,120,000 barrels of diesel with 0.05 maximum sulfur percentage to M/s Emirates National Oil Company, Singapore (ENOC)

 

14. The proposed Colombo Light Rail Transit System Project which was to implement in the western region of Sri Lanka with the funds of the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The Cabinet of Ministers has granted the approval to implement the Colombo Light Rail Transit System project in the western region of Sri Lanka with the fund of the Japan International Cooperation Agency provided that it has been observed that the project is unable to achieve the desired results due to the following reasons.

 According to the basic plan of the project, it was proposed to introduce a Light Rail service with facilities to travel along the overland railway tracks as an alternative mode of transport for those who arrive in the city of Colombo for employment and other purposes by using private cars.

 However the previous government had taken the basic necessary steps to change that plan and implement the proposed Light Rail Transit System on a railway track built on towers that could
cause severe environmental damage.
 It has been found that if the project is implemented, a large number of buildings including houses and business premises will have to be demolished and the cost of constructing the railway track on towers will be immense.

 It has been observed that it is unable to provide the required facilities by the train which was expected to implement under the proposed Light Rail Transit System as an alternative mode of
transport to attract people those who arrive in the city of Colombo for employment and other purposes by using their private cars.

 Moreover, It has been found that if the proposed Light Rail Transit System has been implemented, it will incur a heavy operating cost.

As per, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to cancel the Light Rail Transit System Project which currently planned to be implemented in the western province, taking into consideration the submissions made by the Minister of Transport as the minister in charge of the project.

15. Banning Cattle Slaughter in Sri Lanka As a country with an economy based on agriculture, the contribution of the cattle resource to develop the livelihood of the rural people of Sri Lanka is immense.

Various parties have pointed out that the livestock resource that required for traditional farming purposes is insufficient due to the rise of cattle slaughter and the insufficient of livestock resource is an obstacle to uplift the local dairy industry which enabling development of the livelihood of the rural people while reducing the substantial amount of foreign exchange attracted towards foreign countries on imported milk powder. Taking this situation into consideration, the Cabinet of Ministers granted the approval to implement the following proposals tabled by the Hon. Prime Minister.

 Taking immediate necessary actions to amend the Animal Act No.29 of 1958, the cattle slaughter Ordinance No.09 of 1893 and other related laws and regulations passed by the local authorities regarding cattle slaughter which are currently in force the country.
 Taking immediate necessary actions to import the required meat and provide it at a concessionary price for the people who consume beef.
 Implementing a suitable programme for ageing cattle which cannot be used effectively for agricultural purposes.
 Banning of cattle slaughter in the country with immediate effect subjected to taking such measures.

(news.lk)