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Tuesday May 30th, 2023

Flood, landslide warnings issued to several parts of Sri Lanka

FILE PHOTO – People crossing a flooded river

ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC) on Friday (13) issued landslide and flood warnings to several parts of the island due to an increase in rainfall.

Showery conditions over the Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces and in the Galle and Matara districts of the island are expected to intensify while wind speeds may increase over the Northern and North-Western provinces and in the Hambantota district, the DMC said.

Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central and North-western provinces and in the Galle and Matara districts. Heavy showers above 100mm can occur in parts of the Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces and in the Galle and Matara districts.

“The Irrigation Department has issued warnings and informed the DMC about possible floods if the heavy rains continue mainly in Rathnapura,” DMC Deputy Director Pradeep Kodippili issuing a statement said.

“The district disaster management units have informed us that areas in Kahangama, the Ketaliyampala byroad and Batugedara areas have already flooded due to rising water levels,” he said.

Kodippili asked that residents in these areas, especially around the Kalu Ganga (river), be extremely vigilant.

“We have already taken measures to evacuate people in these areas if needed. Disaster management teams are already in place with equipment’s to assist in any disaster. We ask the people in the Rathnapura district, especially around Kalu Ganaga to be ready to evacuate in a moment’s notice if needed,” he said.

According to data issued by the Irrigation Department and reports from district disaster management units, said Kodipillie, there is no sign of rainfall reducing. Therefore water levels will continue to risej, he said.

The hotline for the DMC is 117

Meanwhile, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) has issued red warnings of landslides to several areas in the Ratnapura district.

Red notice

Ratnapura –  Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas.

Level two notice

Ratnapura – Eheliyagoda, Ayagama, Elapatha, ↑ Kalawana, ↑ Kolonna and ↑ Kuruwita Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas.

Level one notice

Kalutara – Bulathsinhala and Ingiriya Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas.

Kandy – Ganga Ihala Korale and Pasbage Korale Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas.

Kegalle – Dehiowita, Yatiyanthota, Aranayaka, Bulathkohupitiya, Deraniyagala and Ruwanwella Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas.

Matara – Pitabeddara and Kotapola Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas.

Nuwara Eliya – Kotmale, Ambagamuwa and Nuwara Eliya Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas.

Ratnapura – Nivithigala, Kiriella, Imbulpe, Balangoda and Godakawela Divisional Secretariat Division(s) (DSD) and surrounding areas. (Colombo/ May 13/2022)

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Sri Lanka cabinet approves President’s proposal to resume Japanese LRT after soared ties 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to resume the unilaterally cancelled Japan funded Light Rail Transit (LRT), cabinet spokesman said, as the island nation is in the process of mending ties with Tokyo.

However, any such deals are likely to take place after the debt restructuring and Sri Lanka starts to repay its foreign loans to come out of default, analysts say.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa unilaterally cancelled the 1.5 billion US dollar LRT and East Container Terminal (ECT) projects in 2021. Japan agreed to fund the LRT project while it was one of the tripartite members of the ECT project along with India and Sri Lanka.

The abrupt cancellation hit the diplomatic ties between the two countries and Sri Lankan government officials have said Japan had given the project to Sri Lanka at a very lower financing cost.

President Wickremesinghe returned from Japan late last week after having met top officials of the Japanese government including its prime minister.

“In recent history, due to the stopping of several agreements and proposals suddenly, President Wickremesinghe went to Japan after creating the background to clear some of the worries we have,” Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told the weekly media briefing.

“Before he went, he got the approval from the cabinet to resume the discussion on the light railway project. He got the approval from the cabinet to get parliament approval for bilateral agreements signed or any other investments project. Any change or cancellation of a project could be done only with the approval of the parliament.”

Japan has backed Sri Lanka under Wickremesinghe’s presidency after the island nation declared sovereign debt default. (Colombo/May 30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to tighten grip on television with broadcast law

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has formulated a broadcast authority law to regulate electronic media which will be made public soon, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

“The draft prepared by a cabinet subcommittee under Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa has discussed with various parties will be given to all media institutions and broadcast media,” Gunawardana said.

“We do not have to hide or force anyone. A legal framework that can be acceptable to all for all sectors.”

“In a week or two Minister Wijedasa will discuss with state and private stakeholders.”

At the moment Sri Lanka has issued frequencies without conforming to an “international procedures”, he said.

In Sri Lanka television frequencies are issued under a state television act.

Successive administrations in Sri Lanka has since around 1980 mis-used state television duopoly which including for conducting elections according to critics.

Private television as well a raio emerged around the 1990s and has since over shadowed state media.

There have been calls by ruling party politicians from time to time to control private media. There is now calls to control social media.

At a Committee on Public Accounts meeting of the Department of Government Information, ruling coalition legislators called for regulation of television content. (Colombo/May30/2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee at 296.75/297.25 to dollar at open, bond yields steady

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 297 /297.50 against the US dollar in the spot market on Monday, while bond yields were steady, dealers said.

The rupee closed at 296.75 /297.25 to the US dollar on Monday after opening around 296.50 /297.50 rupees.

A bond maturing on 01.09.2027 was quoted at 26.50/75 percent steady from Friday’s close at 26.50/65 percent.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money. (Colombo/ May 29/2023)

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