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Sunday December 10th, 2023

Uproar over crowds at Thondaman’s funeral and Jeevan’s behaviour

ECONOMYNEXT – There is an uproar over the way quarantine laws and the election law was flouted during the funeral of the late Minister Arumugam Thondaman which was held over the weekend.

Activists, health workers and election watchdogs raised many questions about the huge crowds allowed to congregate at the 5-day-long funeral proceedings.

Even though President’s Media Division issued a statement on Friday (May 29), enforcing quarantine curfew on Saturday in Nuwara Eliya district and an all-island curfew on Sunday, photos of the funeral circulated in social media showed large crowds gathered there without any social distancing as required by the health authorities.

On Saturday, the President of the Public Health Inspectors’ Union of Sri Lanka, Upul Rohana said that they are ready to take legal action against everyone responsible for organising the funeral if any attendees are infected by COVID-19 and results in a new cluster of patients.

Also, he said that a supporter of the late Minister Thondaman has threatened the Director-General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe on the telephone regarding the organising of the funeral.

The PHI Union questions the authority of that person to disrupt the work of a public servant while going begging for votes in order to gain political power over the dead body of the Minister.

He added that these kinds of activities exhaust health officials including the medical health officers, public health officers and hospital staff who fight day and night against the COVID-19 Pandemic also present a bad example to the country.

The National Coordinator of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Manjula Gajanayake pointed to the fact that Jeevan Thondaman, the late Minister’s son paraded through the streets during the funeral.

He said it is “regrettable that the election authorities remain silent when the candidate who has been proposed to contest for the forthcoming elections in place of late Minister Thondaman was parading in an open vehicle through a number of electorates in the hill country violating election laws and quarantine laws.”

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) in a statement warned about a possible second wave of COVID-19 in the country as large crowds were gathered to pay respect to the late Minister Thondaman

The statement also said that if everyone fails to understand the danger of this situation regardless of their status, the country could again fall into a dangerous situation.

Speaking to reporters this morning, former MP Nalin Bandara said that even though last respects should be paid to late Minister Thondaman who won the hearts of the plantation workers, the quarantine regulations should be same to all as there is a pandemic in the country.

“There cannot be one way when a soldier dies and another way when a farmer, politician or Buddhist monk dies,” he added.

Also, he said that the quarantine regulations were the same until the funeral of Late Minister Thondaman and said that the funeral was held for 5 days travelled to 5 or 6 places with large crowds in attendance.

Below are some of the posts and shared in Social Media (Facebook, Twitter) about funeral of the late Minister Arumugam Thondaman,



(Colombo/June 1/2020)

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ADB USD200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”

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Sri Lank in blackout as power grid hit by cascading failure

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka suffered a blackout as Saturday evening as the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board grid was hit by a cascading power failure.

The cascading failure is believed to have been triggered by the failure of the Kothmale-Biyagama transmission line.

“The Ceylon Electricity Board wishes to inform our customers that due to the failure of Kotmale – Biyagama main transmission line, an island wide power failure has occurred,” CEB Spokesman Noel Priyantha said.

“Step by step restorations are underway and it may take few hours to completely restore the power supply.”

With hydro plants running flat out, a outage of the line tends to create a big imbalance in the demand and supply, leading to tripping of more lines and generators.

Lines can trip due to lightening strikes, or equipment failures.

Sri Lanka last suffered a cascading failure in December 2021, due to the failure of the same transmission line.

RelatedSri Lanka power blackout as grid hit by cascading failure

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Sri Lanka to host regional Food and Agriculture Organization conference

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will host the 37th session of the Asia Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), from February 19-22, 2024 in Colombo.

The Conference will bring together agriculture ministers and officials from 46 countries across the region to discuss challenges in food and agriculture.

“The 37th APRC will provide a vital platform for regional collaboration, benefitting the agricultural landscape, fisheries sector and environment of Sri Lanka,” Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said at a press briefing on Friday (8) to announce the conference.

FAO has had an active presence in Sri Lanka for over 40 years. “FAO has supported the country in the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and the development of the fisheries sector for growth and climate resilience,” Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“The APRC conference will be an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches introduced in partnership with the government.”

By hosting APRC, Sri Lanka hopes to demonstrate the country’s dedication to the growth of sustainable agriculture, and showcase its commitment to sustainable agricultural development.

The APRC agenda will include a forum on agritourism, especially requested by the Sri Lankan government.

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