An Echelon Media Company
Monday December 11th, 2023

Residents complain SLPP activists accompanied by police collecting personal data?

PERSONAL DATA COLLECTION – Western Province DIG Deshabandu Tennekoon says Police are looking fo r temporary residents

ECONOMYNEXT – Questions are being raised over a door-to-door survey being conducted by Police in the City of Colombo and its suburbs of residents and the collection of personal data by officers accompanied by unidentified civilians.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police for the Western Province Deshabandu Tennakoon told media that the survey was to find out the temporary residents of these areas.

All those who do not appear in the electoral registry will appear in this database as “this will be beneficial to authorities to identify illicit liquor breweries, narcotics, underworld activities and to ensure national security,” Tennekoon was quoted as saying.

But residents reported otherwise.

Padmasena Dissanayake, a resident of Pitakotte complained to the National Police Commission that the data was being collected by “known activists” of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

He said he was told by the police officer who accompanied this activist that the data was being sought by the Presidential Security Division.

When EconomyNext called the police Media Division we were told that the information was being collected on temporary residents.

However, when we said the data from the permanent residents were also being collected we were told: “why did you provide that information.”

But many people in the neighbourhoods in Nugegoda reported that permanent residents were also asked for their data and this was collected by civilians accompanying police.

Two families we spoke to said that they were asked by Police whether they were Sinhalese or Tamil.

Dissanayake in his complaint says “on May 31st morning there were three more Constables seeking same information handed over 24 hours earlier. They claimed they were from the Presidential Security Division. They said they need to check whether there have been any changes since submitting the last form,” he said.

“I politely but firmly declined to submit any more information and told them not to harass the public who already have to cope with a multitude of issues,” he said.

Dissanayake also asked the NPC to inquire into the matter and stop political activists collecting confidential information of the public. “Also please do not allow political parties to use police personnel to gather information,” he said. (Colombo, June 2, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana



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Sri Lanka’s ousted utilities regulatory chief convinced he’ll be president

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka’s former public utilities regulatory chief Janaka Ratnayake, who was removed in May following a parliamentary vote, has confirmed that he intends to run for president.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday December 11 in the wake of an hours-long island-wide power outage the previous evening, Ratanayake said he will be the definite winner at a future presidential poll.

“I announced [my intention to run] officially on December 07, my birthday. I’m definitely coming as a presidential candidate. That’s not all, I’m the definite president at a future presidential election,” he said.

Ratnayake, in his first media appearance in months, was responding to questions about newspaper advertisements published on December 07 announcing his future candidacy.

Sri Lanka’s parliament on May 24 opted to remove the former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), with 123 members voting in favour. This marked the first time a head of an independent government commission was sacked by Sri Lanka’s parliament.

Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara, who had been at loggerheads with the regulatory chief, said at the time that the official had acted obstinately without the concurrence of fellow commission members.

The minister levelled five charges against Ratnayake, the first twoof  which were based on a February 10 verdict by the Court of Appeal rejecting an application filed by the offiical against an electricity tariff hike. Opposition legislators slammed the decision saying it undermined independent commissions.

Ratnayake’s presidential ambitions have been known for some time. A day before parliament voted to remove him, he told reporters: “If I can change the country, I will definitely join politics, because my intention is to serve the people and what is right.”

Ratnayake had blocked delayed a tariff hike in early 2023, resulting in losses to the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Minister Wijesekara claimed at the time. The PUCSL had als onot enabled tariff hikes for nine years, requiring its governing law to be changed, Wijesekera said.

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Sri Lanka wants university research to lead to commercially viable products

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s ministry of industries wants to ensure commercially-ready products and services are produced by university research, by facilitating partnerships with factories and entrepreneurs.

After a currency crisis, Sri Lanka’s government is in a drive to boost its trade balance by increasing exports.

“Our export basket hasn’t changed recently, partly because our small and medium entrepreneurs don’t have sufficient research and development facilities (like the multinationals) to innovate their products for the export market,” Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Industries, Chaminda Pathiraja said.

“At the same time, state universities and research institutes produce a large amount of research findings yearly, which end up sitting in those institutions; they don’t reach the industry,” Pathiraja said at a press briefing to announce a program on commercialization of new products and research, to be held tomorrow at the Waters Edge.

The networking forum will bring innovators and manufacturers together to focus on the commercialization of research for the value added tea, coir, spice, dairy products, gem and jewellery and packaging products industries.

“We want to encourage collaboration, through programs like our University Business League etc, so that the research output can be commercialized, and what is produced by our factories can increase in quantity and quality. We must focus on the export market.”

The objective of this program, he said, was to reduce the gap in acquiring innovators’ ideas and skills by the investors, and ultimately boost the manufacturing sector’s efficiency in alignment with the export market.

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Sri Lanka rupee opens at 327.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 327.00/50 to the US dollar on Monday, from 327.00/30 Friday, dealers said.

On the Colombo Stock Exchange, both indices opened up: The All Share Price Index 0.28 percent at 10,823, and the S&P SL20 0.35 percent at 3,113.85.

Bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 14.05/20 percent from 14.05/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 was quoted at 14.05/20 percent from 14.10/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 was quoted at 14.20/50 percent from 14.20/35 percent.

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