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Friday December 9th, 2022

ICC reject Sri Lanka World Cup complaints of ‘poor pitches, no pool’

AFP – World Cup organisers have been forced to defend the quality of the tournament’s pitches and facilities after reports of an official complaint from Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka team manager Ashantha de Mel claimed the International Cricket Council have given certain World Cup teams preferential treatment at the expense of his side.

Launching an angry attack on the ICC ahead of Sri Lanka’s match against holders Australia on Saturday, de Mel blasted the quality of pitches, practice facilities, transport and accommodation at the World Cup in England and Wales.

"This is a World Cup where the top ten countries are taking part and I feel that all the participants should be treated equally," de Mel was quoted as saying by Sri Lankan newspaper Daily News on Friday.

"The pitch being prepared for our match against Australia on Saturday here at the Oval is green. It is not sour grapes that we are complaining but it is very unfair on the part of the ICC that they prepare one type of wicket for certain teams and another type for others."

De Mel criticised Sri Lanka’s team bus, saying it was more cramped than the double-decker vehicles provided to other teams.

He also slammed the net facilities at Cardiff as "unsatisfactory" and the squad’s hotel in Bristol, which lacks a swimming pool.

He added that the World Cup’s timing, it runs from May 30 to July 14, suggested the ICC valued the Ashes Test series between England and Australia — which is scheduled to follow the World Cup — more than the flagship one-day competition.

But the ICC refuted de Mel’s claims about the pitches and said they worked with all teams equally in a bid to ensure fair treatment.

– Fair wicket plea –

"We employ an independent pitch advisor to work with the host curators at all ICC events and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 is no different," an ICC statement read.

"We are happy with the wickets that have been produced across the event so far in English conditions.

"As part of the four year planning process to deliver this event, we have liaised with all teams to ensure they are happy with their set up and are available to work with them should any issues arise that have not been previously anticipated.

"At the heart of our planning is the philosophy that all ten teams are treated equally to enable them to have the best possible preparation for the event."

Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand in their first World Cup match, then beat Afghanistan before successive games against Bangladesh and Pakistan were washed out.

Asked to elaborate on de Mel’s criticisms, Sri Lanka Dimuth Karunaratne deferred to his manager when he faced the media at a pre-match press conference at the Oval on Friday.

"I have no idea what Ashantha said. You should ask from him. I don’t know anything about it," he said.

But Karunaratne did suggest that Sri Lanka felt frustrated they had been given several pitches that favoured bowlers rather than batsmen due to extra grass left on the strip.

"If you take this Oval wicket, there’s also a bit of green. I think those are the things," he said.

"We were not expecting every wicket should be a white top. We are asking for a fair wicket. That’s what we all want and what all the spectators want."

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Sri Lanka president slams power regulator chief after conflicting with minister

ECONOMYNET – The powers to change the electricity tariff in Sri Lanka is vested with the Minister of Power and not the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL), President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Parliament.

The minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekara has requested an upward price revision to be implemented in two phases both in January and July next year, saying the recent tariff hike was not enough for the state-run utility provider Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to continue uninterrupted power supply.

However, Jaynaka Ratnayake, the Chairman of the PUCSL had said  the recent tariff hike is enough for the CEB to cover the cost of production and it will not allow another price hike. However, he has said a twice a year price revision is necessary though it should be in April and October instead of January and July.

President Wickremesinghe said the PUCSL chief was opposing the tariff hike due to his personal reasons.

“The power is vested with the Minister and me. I am the one who made the PUCSL act and I know what is in it,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament on Thursday. quoting a letter from the Attorney General which mentioned provisions in the island nation’s Electricity Act.

Accordingly the Act, the PUCSL would be statutorily obliged to give effect to such policy. It is observed that neither the Act nor the PUCSL Act contains any provisions that empowers the PUCSL to change or act invariant of such policy guidelines.

“The Chairman of the PUCSL is misguiding the general public. I have to meet him and see,” Wickremesinghe said.

WIckremesinghe said the Chairman does not want the tariff hike because he owns one of the highest electricity consuming companies.

“He is the Chairman of the Trillium corporation. It is the firm that takes up the most energy”, he said.

The Trillium group is managed by Janaka Ratnayake and he also holds positions as the chairman and CEO of Trillium Property Management & Services Ltd., City Housing and Real Estate PLC, Trillium Residencies Ltd., Computer Care (Pvt) Ltd., and Rent a Comp Services (Pvt) Ltd., and JR Management Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.

“It means when the electricity bill increases, his expenses increase as well”

He said the CEB still has a loss of 300 billion rupees since 2013 and it needs to be covered.

The CEB issue can be solved only in three ways, either printing more money, increasing value added tax or increasing the tariffm, he said. (Colombo/Dec08/2022)

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Sri Lanka President bemoans over inconsistent LNG deals

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe bemoaned over successive governments’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal that has brought in all the world powers into the discussion.

Wickremesinghe’s center-right United National Party (UNP) had discussions with India and Japan between 2002-2004 for an LNG project.

“Following dialogues with India and Japan, the UNP government could come to agreements to get two LNG power plants. After we were defeated the successor government, without cancelling those agreements granted it to New Fortress company in USA,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament.

“Thereafter, as they did not like New Fortress, they gave it back to Pakistan and China. So within the same premises, there were China, Pakistan, India, USA, Japan and only Russia was not there.”

“It was wonderful that a world war did not ignited there as there were five main powers in the world.”

“Now there is no LNG or anything here and now they ask me to solve this issue.”

Wickremesighe’s outburst comes as his government is forced to raise tariffs on power prices after successive governments failed to implement cheap and renewable power generation projects.

He said a total loss for the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board since 2013 was 300 billion rupees and a possible drought next year could increase the 2023 electricity cost to 420 billion rupees.

“If it rained, we need Rs. 352 billion while Rs. 295 is required if rained so much to have floods. How are we going to find this money? We would have to print money, but Rupee would depreciate. We would have to increase VAT but it would increase the price of all commodities or to charge it direct.” (Colombo/Dec08/2022)

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Air quality drop forces Sri Lanka to close schools; public warned

ECONOMYNEXT – A rapid drop in air quality in Sri Lanka has forced the Colombo government to close all schools across the country after a deep depression over Southeast Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The Education Ministry, issuing a special notice on Thursday said, it has decided to close all government schools for Friday, after discussing with the officials in Meteorology Department and Disaster Management Center.

An official said the drop was due to the deep depression over Southeast Bay of Bengal carrying the air from India.

Due to the depression over South east Bay of Bengal (370 km east of Trincomalee) has concentrated into a cyclonic storm “Mandous” by Wednesday night.

“Cyclone in the Bay of Bengal that is the prime reason for the increase in the pollution load as we receive more wind from India,” H.D.S.Premasiri, Senior Scientist, Coordinator-Air Quality, noise and vibrations at National Building Research Organization (NBRO) told EconomyNext on Thursday.

Officials said there is a likelihood of the cyclone moving west-northwestwards and further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm tonight and cross North Tamil-Nadu, Puducherry and South Andhra Pradesh coast around midnight of 09 th December and the maximum wind speeds will be 70-90 km per hour and can increase up to 90 in sea areas.

“Hopefully, today we can expect normalization in the environment and the effects of the fog will disappear”.

According to the NBRO’s real time Air Quality Index Indicator, the quality of air in northwestern coastal district of Puttalam has dropped drastically and indicated a particular matter (PM) 132, while Kegalle (85) and Mannar (84) were the districts which had next worst air quality.

According to NBRO, Battaramulla, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Kegalle, Mannar and Puttalam indicate a poor quality of air due to higher PM.

“The fog will lead to lung and breathing issues,” Premasiri said.

“So the public is warned to wear a mask when they travel outside. The pollution highly prevails in city areas and has a less impact on the other parts of the areas.” (Colombo/ Dec08/2022)

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