Maithri – Ranil regime attempts to sell Colombo Port – Comrade Bimal Rathnayake

The present government is taking steps to sell Colombo harbour that is profitable stating it is run at a loss, the present Maithri – Ranil administration, like the previous regime, is taxing the people as well as making plans to sell state institutions says Parliamentarian of the JVP Bimal Rathnayake. He says the Ports Authority is running at a loss not because of the Colombo Harbour but because of Hambantota and Pachchaperumal harbours.
Comrade Bimal Rathnayake made these observations at a press conference held at the head office of the Party at Pelawatta today (29th). The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP and Kalutara District Parliamentarian Comrade Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa also participated.
Speaking further Comrade Bimal Rathnayake said, “A programme has been activated to sell East Container Terminal of Colombo Harbour. Colombo Harbour is more than a thousand years old, successful and a very important harbour. It has been a navally important port for centuries and is the main harbour owned by Ports Authority. It is being maintained successfully despite large scale frauds, corruption and irregularities that were committed during the previous regime. According to facilities it has in handling large containers it is graded 24th internationally. Colombo Harbour has been able to maintain its position as a high grade harbour according to international standards. It could compete with US and Chinese harbours. The Ministry of Ports & Maritime Affairs had published an advertisement to sell the East Container Terminal of Colombo Harbour and offers have been called. According to the advertisement ‘The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has called for Expression of Interests (EOIs) for the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo port.’ The government has planned to sell the terminal stating it is going to be developed. The advertisement states East Container Terminal (ECT) has a 440m long 18 m deep quay wall, a 20 hectares yard area and connected facilities developed by the SLPA. It states “The Concessionaire has the advantage of deploying container handling equipment upfront and operating existing facility while developing the rest of the terminal.”
Accordingly, ECT already has the ability to handle 18,000 container ships. What is lacking at present are cranes and relevant equipment. During Rajapaksa regime quotations had been called to buy necessary cranes. Even with irregularities present 95% work had been complied during that time to install cranes. An agreement had been signed with a foreign company and preparations had been finalized to buy cranes for US$67 million. However, the relevant agreement was cancelled in 2015 due to the change of government and and the increase in prices.
When there was the possibility of buying cranes and starting work in the terminal the present Minister of Ports Arjuna Ranatunga presented a cabinet paper on 20th June, 2015 proposing to develop the ECT. The Minister states only 70% of containers and handled by the terminal and in the competition to gain volume of containers the terminal has to compete with Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Salalah and India declaring Vallarpadam in Kochin as an International Container Transhipment Terminal the competition has intensified. The Minister also points out that modernizing 12 harbours in India would affect our harbours as 90% of eh containers handled by our harbours and from ships sailing to India.
As such, there is a necessity to develop ECT states the cabinet paper. The Minister also states that re exporting harbours in Asia are threatened and pointed out that 4 of the 5 main jetties in Colombo harbour handle container ships.
The weakest two terminals are the ones that belong to the government. As they are not deep enough ships go to the privatized jetties that are deep as they have a depth of about 18 meters and have facilities. As other jetties in Colombo Harbour have been 85% or 93% privatized it is necessary to have the ECT with the government. Jetties in which the government had ownership of 7% or 15% earned a profit of US$45 million in 2014. Despite this the Minister proposes shipping company or a terminal operator to take over 49% of the shares of the ECT of which the main shareholder is the SLPA. The Minister of Finance has approved the proposal and has instructed to appoint a committee to consider the decision. Based on this the cabinet has approved the cabinet paper. Also, the Asian Development Bank represents SLPA. The report prepared for the buyers in June, 2016 states only 15% ownership would be sufficient. Accordingly, Advertisements have been placed for tenders without any cabinet approval to sell 85% of the ECT in Colombo Harbour retaining only 15% for the government. What this indicates is that a plan is being hatched to sell ECT when there is scope to modernize it. What is serious sis that the process to sell is contradictory to the proposal in eh cabinet paper. After this deal Colombo Harbour would be left with only sea water.
During the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime too people were taxed and state institutions were sold. Also, there were large scale frauds and corruption connected with Colombo Harbour. With all that Colombo Harbour earned profits. SLPA runs at a loss not because of Colombo Harbour but due to Hambantota and Pachchaperumal harbour projects. Hambantota and Pachchaperumal projects are pet projects. The government spent millions for those projects. It is these wasteful spendings that has made SLPA a loss. Rajapaksas’ wasteful spendings or corruption is not relevant to Colombo Harbour as it earned profits. Hence we ask the President, the Prime Minister and the cabinet from where and how was the process to sell approved. This process of selling would be effective for 35 years. This means the government wants to pawn the economic resource of our country for 35 years. Also, the government is violating the economic sovereignty of our country. All Ceylon Ports General Workers Union distributed a leaflet in June, 2016 against the attempt to sell the ECT. Also, we wrote to the Minister. The President was informed in writing. The engineers in SLPA wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on 27th June that ser vices could be carried out once the cranes are bought. Privatization would have a bad affect on the employees. As the government owns only two jetties in Colombo Harbour the number of ships arriving at these jetties is diminishing. Privatizing ECT would jeopardize jobs of port employees.
The UNP began privatizing state institutions in 1987. With that large scale frauds that went beyond taking commissions from projects begun since then commenced. Large scale thefts were committed from the privatization process that began with privatizing AMW. Lands in ‘Janawasama’ were sold for pittance. When resources in Steel Corporation were sold the valuation taken into account was so small that the value of a two door Tata bus to transport employees was estimated as one rupee. The privatizaation process begun by the UNP continued during Ms. Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunga’s period as well. Mr. Kumaratunga sold state enterprises including Puttalam cement factory. Again, during the UNP regime the Insurance Corporation was sold. There was a loss of billions. Institutions belonging to the masses were sold for meagre amounts. Rajapaksas stole by selling state institutions more than they did from commissions.
As such, the port deal is an underhand transaction. This is why the period for closing tenders is extended. We, as the JVP, say the attempt to sell the terminal should be stopped immediately. The trade unions as well as the people in the country should oppose this move. Investigations by COPE have revealed information about the deal. Trade unions too have revealed information about the deal.”

Those who have skeletons in closets are scared of OMB

On what grounds does anyone say that the Office of the Missing Person’s Bill would have adverse affect on war heroes and soldiers asks the General Secretary of the JVP Comrade Tilvin Silva. He said this when the journalists pointed out that Mahinda faction of the SLFP opposed the Bill.
Speaking to a daily newspaper Comrade Tilvin Silva said if anyone says so they indirectly admit that the soldiers had been used illegally for abductions and disappearances of individuals. He added that it is those who have skeletons in their closets that should be afraid of such a law coming into effect.
He said those who opposed the Bill opposed even investigations into the disappeared during ’71 and 88/89 periods. Comrade Tilvin Silva pointed out that Mahinda faction opposed even the establishment of Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) as they were afraid that their frauds and corruption would be exposed. He said those who do not want investigations regarding the disappeared are the ones who were involved in disappearing individuals and it is natural that they oppose such a Bill added the General Secretary of the JVP.

JVP stand on Port City project hasn’t changed

The JVP stand on the port city project has not changed as the project is harmful to the country in several aspects and is detriment to the country in many ways.
The JVP opposes the project as it is not legal, could cause many environmental problems, financially not feasible and due to the impact it would have on international political relations said the Leader of the party Comrade Anura Dissanayaka.
The involvement of the present government in port city project has not changed any of the above disadvantages pointed out Comrade Anura Dissanayaka. He said the agreement for the port city project is not legal and pointed out that there are no laws enacted to reclaim land from the sea He added that several environmental issues have been mentioned according to Coastal Conservation Authority Act and said 72 points in relation to environmental harms have been mentioned.
The JVP Leader points out that port city project is detrimental to the country when considering the issues that arise regarding sovereignty, when partitioning land reclaimed from the sea and the affect the project will have on the Balance of Power in Contemporary International Politics and says his party objects to the project after taking into account afore mentioned facts.
Meanwhile, the JVP questioned in Parliament regarding the port city project and the Prime Minister had said the new agreement relevant to the project and environmental feasible reports would be presented to Parliament.
Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said future actions taken by the JVP regarding the port city project would be informed to the masses soon.

Reveal if you dare! – Anura challenges President

JVP leader Comrade Anura Dissanayake responding to the statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena at a Matara rally said the President should reveal what he knows about his rivals now instead of threatening to do so when a new political party is formed by them.
Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, “Whatever secrets President Sirisena knows about are not personal disputes between his family and that of the Rajapaksas or some personal matters. These are obviously things which the people of this country need to know about. Therefore the President should reveal these secrets now.”
He said, “The President should not keep such secrets to be disclosed only when his party is threatened.”

A small clique uses National Flag to hide their impotency

The personnel of the security forces who had acted legally would not be affected by the Office of the Missing Person’s Bill and a very small group that needs to hide its inability and knavishness is trying to hide behind the national flag and flags of security forces says JVP Parliamentarian Comrade Bimal Rathnayake.

The JVP defended the Motherland with lives of its members and in the future too the JVP would protect the country from those who try to partition the country and from thieves added the Comrade Bimal Rathnayake.
He said this participating in a TV debate.

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Amendments from JVP to OMP Bill while Mahinda faction obstructs

When the debate on the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Bill was held in Parliament today (11th) Parliamentarians of Mahinda faction of the SLFP opposed taking a vote for the Bill while Members of the JVP presented several amendments to the Bill.
The JVP Parliamentarian Comrade Bimal Rathnayaka participating in the debate said disappearances have taken place from 1987 until recently as 2014 and during the war more than 5000 security forces personnel have disappeared between 2006 and 2009.
He said during the war tens of thousands of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim citizens of this country have disappeared and the parents and relatives of the disappeared in the North and the East go through the same sorrow and the feeling of loss felt by the parents and relatives of JVP Members who were made to disappear during 88/89 period.
Comrade Rathnayaka said the death of JVP founder and Leader Comrade Rohana Wijeweera and the deaths of other leaders of the JVP such as Comrade Upatissa Gamanayaka, Comrade Shantha Bandara and many other comrades are definitely disappearances and pointed out that Comrade Rohana Wijeweera’s children couldn’t see their father’s body nor could the members of the party see the body of their beloved leader.
Comrade Bimal Rathanayaka said Lalith Kumar and Kugan Murugananthan, who had been activists of the JVP, were disappeared as soon as they withdrew from politics of the JVP and their disappearance is connected with their activities while they were members of the JVP. He said the government is responsible for their disappearance.
The rulers, who came to power unearthing skeletal remains at Sooriyakanda, later made the murderers of Sooriyakanda their party organizers, appointed as a governor and at a certain period those murderers were made body guards of these politicians said Comrade Bimal Rathnayaka.
The JVP would never expect that bringing such Bills would justify those who were disappeared in 71, 89 or during the war but the move could have an effect to prevent such disappearances in the future said Mr. Rathnayaka.
The parents in the North as well as parents in the South have a right to know what happened to their children and it is the responsibility of the government to consolidate this right said Mr. Bimal Rathnayaka.

Comrade Vijitha Herath addresses Sri Lankans in Australia

The Information Secretary of the JVP Comrade Vijitha Herath is in Australia to participate in a series of seminars under the theme ‘Myth of Good Governance & Future of Sri Lanka’ organized by the JVP Committee in Australia.

Comrade Vijitha Herath addressed a seminar held at Monash University in Melbourne and another at Brisbane on Sunday (30th).
At Monash University an exhibition under the theme ‘Unceasing Revolution’ depicting the history of the JVP and contribution of the party for the society was held after the seminar.
The seminar at Monash University was chaired by Comrade Nissanka Wijekone and Comrade Anura Manchanayak   chaired the seminar at Brisbane.

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