How many new passports SL issued this year ? Details revealed

A total of 288,645 persons have obtained passports within the first five months of 2022, the Department of Immigration and Emigration reported.

The department’s media spokesperson Piumi Bandara said only 382, 506 passports had been issued for the whole of last year (2021).

Stating that many have sought overseas employment due to the economic crisis, she said many had obtained passports this year for this purpose.

A total of 52,278 passports were obtained in January this year, while 55,381 were obtained in February, 74,890 in March, 53,151 in April, and 52,945 in May, she said.

Piumi Bandara said this has resulted in the Department of Immigration and Emigration facing a heavy workload.

Thereby, she called on those visiting the department to make prior appointments before visiting.

Stating that over 1500 appointments are issued on a daily basis, she said those standing in queues are those who have failed to make prior appointments.

The one-day service to obtain passports is being carried out only at the Head Office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Battaramulla.

However, normal passport services are being undertaken at the Battaramulla office and regional offices of the department in the Matara, Kurunegala, Kandy, and Vavuniya areas, she added.


SLC appoints Lasith Malinga as Bowling Strategy Coach

Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce the appointment of Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowling legend and former captain of the ODI and T20I team, as the

‘Bowling Strategy Coach’ of the National Team for the white ball segment of the Australia Tour of Sri Lanka.

Malinga, during the tour, will support Sri Lanka’s bowlers, providing tactical insight and technical expertise to help the on-field execution of strategic plans.

Sri Lanka Cricket is confident that Malinga’s vast experience and renowned death bowling expertise, especially in the T20 format, will help the team immensely going into this all-important series.

Lasith Malinga held the same role with the national team when the team toured Australia in February this year for a white ball series.

Dilith reveals how Rajapaksa family destroyed President

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was destroyed by the Rajapaksa family, top Sri Lankan businessman Dilith Jayaweera alleges.

Speaking to Lahiru Mudalige of Hari TV, Dilith Jayaweera who ran the Presidential campaign of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the President betrayed the nation due to his family.

“When the President was elected he promised that he will not involve the family to govern the country. He did not even expect that other Rajapaksas would come to the Cabinet, but that happened”

“From appointing PB Jaysundara to all his wrong decisions, I have expressed my concern to the President. I think the President became helpless in this system. He couldn’t even save himself from his own brothers,” Jayaweera said.

Stating that the biggest hassle faced by the President was seeing four people from the same family with the ‘satakaya’ sitting in the Cabinet, he added that the President was rendered helpless at this point.

Dilith Jayaweera also said that the Rajapaksa family campaigned for “No Gota” before the Presidential election, but could not stop it due to the public demand.

He further alleged that the Rajapaksa family’s involvement in various businesses had affected the President’s image.

Jayaweera also said that today, the President is hated by some for the action’s of some of his family members.

“Today the family wants Gota out more than the public,” he pointed out.

Responding to a question on certain allegations levelled against him, Jayaweera denied it, stating that social media groups supporting MPs Harin Fernando and Namal Rajapaksa were behind it.


Public property set ablaze thinking it was Basil’s!

The house built on a 16 acre land on Dodampe Malwana Mapitigama Gangabada Road which was suspected to belong to former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and was set ablaze by the protesters is however, reported to be  public property.

The courts declared it a public property as no one claimed ownership to that property.

Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the property’s current registered owner Muditha Jayakody both told court that the property did not belong to them.

Accordingly, on October 14, 2016, Pugoda Magistrate DA Ruwanpathirana ordered that the land be sold at a public auction and that the proceeds from the sale be taken into the custody of the Pugoda Magistrate's Court.

Meanwhile, Thusith Mudalige appearing for the Attorney General's Department, had requested the court to suspend the auction of the property, which was valued at Rs. 208 million, stating that the government was planning of using the land and the building for public welfare.

Thereafter, the then minister Wijayadasa Rajapaksha proposed that this land and building be used to establish a police training school.
After that proposal, it is reported that Good Governance minister Sagala Ratnayake was making preparations to implement Wijayadasa’s proposal.

However, nothing materialized and a police post was set up at the property to protect it.

Ironically, the property had been burnt down while such a police post was established at the premises.

Therefore, legal experts said that this is not the private property of any of the Rajapaksa family members and those responsible for setting this property on fire should be arrested and charged under the laws on damaging public property.
Meanwhile, the villagers living in the vicinity claim that it was the police that had set fire to the property.

COVID-19 demands democracy and Fundamental Rights ensured

Much hyped stories about Free Trade Zone (FTZ) workers being inhumanly exploited by employers in Sri Lanka during this pandemic period, did make rounds here and travelled beyond our shores as well.

Did Vaas really need a TV?

Cricket has become a hot topic with Sri Lanka securing a series win against South Africa after 08 years and social media posts reflect this renewed interest in the game.

A popular social media post circulating locally has been demanding a TV for Sri Lankan bowling coach Chaminda Vaas.

This is because Vaas was seen rushing to the dressing room to watch replays of bowlers during the match. He was seen doing this each time a Sri Lankan bowler became highlighted during the game.

Upon inquiring whether Vaas really did or did not have a TV, we learnt that although the dressing rooms were fully equiped with TV and the required technology, they just prefered to watch the match from the stairs in front of the dressing rooms. Hence, he had to rush back and forth to the dressing room whenever he felt it was needed.

Vaas has been highly commended on his energy and enthusiasm when it came to the bowlers coached under him.

I have not received a single cent as pension – Cabraal

State Minister of Finance, Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal has responded to the reports which claimed that he called for a pension scheme from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) for himself.

Taking to his official Twitter account, Cabraal reiterated that he has not received a “single cent” as pension.

“Neither have I availed myself of the DUTY FREE vehicle from the Government after working as the Governor [of CBSL] for nearly 9 years,” he said further.

In a previous tweet, the state minister noted that he was not paid a pension even after four years of resigning.

Cabraal also pointed out that he is entitled to the pension as per the appointment letter handed over to him in 2006 when he took office as the Central Bank governor.

US dollars not available anywhere at Central Bank’s rates - Harsha

Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva says that Sri Lanka is today facing its worst economic crisis since independence and that there are no US dollars available anywhere at the rates specified by the central bank.

He stated that in the unofficial market the US dollar is being sold for around Rs. 235-240 and sometimes for even more, despite the exchange rates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka stating that the buying price and selling price of the US dollar is Rs. 198 and Rs. 202.89 respectively.

“Dollars are not available at these rates anywhere,” he said, referring to the Central Bank’s exchange rates.

Dr. de Silva added that a Gazette notification has been issued stipulating a price of Rs. 98 per kilogram for rice, however rice cannot be purchased from anywhere at that price. He said the same can be said for the prices of salmon tins and gas cylinders as they cannot be purchased for the prices declared by the government.  

The SJB MP stated that unfortunately for the first time the Central bank is saying that a US dollar is Rs. 202, however the general public is unable to buy US dollars at that rate from anywhere.

The former State Minister emphasized that what is happening is that Sri Lanka is today facing its worst economic crisis since independence and that the biggest challenge in the short term is the fact that within the next couple of months the country has to payback massive loans obtained is US dollars.

No-confidence motion against Minister Udaya Gammanpila defeated

The Motion of No Confidence brought against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila by the opposition has been defeated by a majority of 91 votes.

A total of 61 MPs had voted in favour of the motion while 152 parliamentarians voted against it. 

Ranil calls for debate on country’s foreign exchange crisis

UNP MP and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for a debate on what he called a major foreign exchange crisis that the country is facing at the moment.