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DateLine Sunday, 16 March 2008

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Teachers should not resort to trade union action - Susil Premajayantha

If the salaries of teachers were increased as demanded by the trade unions the government had to spend nine thousand million rupees annually, said Education Minister, Susil Premajayantha at the ceremonial opening of the ‘Thomas de Silva Memorial Auditorium’ at Dharmasoka Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda recently. The new building was constructed at a total cost of Rs. 2.60 million.

The Minister said, at a moment when the country is engaged in a struggle to wipe out terrorism which had retarded the national development, it is not justifiable for the teachers to resort to trade union action. Had the requests for salary increase been acceded to all development priorities initiated to uplift the down-trodden masses would have been suspended.
 


Minister Susil Premajayantha unveils Thomas de Silva Memorial Auditorium at
Dharmasoka Vidalaya.

Further there would have been strong reaction from other trade unions as well. The Education Ministry apart from salary increases, is alive to the need to improve the welfare facilities of the teachers.

“The former Education Minister, Richard Pathirana, took the initiative to resolve the salary anomalies of teachers which resulted in tremendous increase of their salary bill, when compared to the salaries of other State sector employees, he pointed out.

“Teachers work only 201 days during a year and if they continue to go on sick leave in protest against the salary anomalies, they would not be able to cover the examination syllabuses to the detriment of the students.

The Minister continued, the trade unions launch protest campaigns on the agendas of different political parties. Referring to the 88/89 era of terror he reminded how schools were forced to close on chits issued by certain elements. Schoolchildren were forced to take part in anti-government demonstrations.

Around 60,000 misguided youths perished their precious lives in vain. Such valuable qualities as loyalty, respect and love for teachers, parents and elders are fast disappearing from the students today. Once they joined the universities their slogans carried the message of terror, hatred and jealousy. He assured that the country could not go back to the era of fear and terror as experienced by us in 1988 and 1989.

The Minister said, the Thomas de Silva Memorial Auditorium at Dharmasoka Vidalaya was constructed at a total cost of Rs. 2.18 million within a short span of less than two years. Once it is equipped with the sound system and other accessories, the cost has shot up to Rs. 2.60 million.

Despite numerous problems, under the guidance of President, Mahinda Rajapaksa steps have been taken to develop the infrastructure and human resources of the education sector on high priority. Southern Province Chief Minister Shan de Silva said the new auditorium could be considered an event of great importance.

Dharmasoka Vidyalaya during its history of 93 years has produced many professionals and scholars at local and international level as well.

The Chief Minister reminded that during his time in the school none of the facilities enjoyed by the present students were available to them.

Mudaliyar Thomas de Silva Foundation Secretary, Dharmasiri Ginige said the Foundation was started in 1982 by a former principal of Dharmasoka Vidyalaya and a sum of Rs. 1.4 million could be provided for the construction of the auditorium out of the Foundation funds.

Dharmasoka Vidyalaya Principal, H.T.P. Wijesinghe, and Old Boys Association Secretary, Sarath Srilal also spoke.


Three-pronged plan to develop villages - Salinda Dissanayake

A three year master plan to develop villages in three key areas namely infrastructure development, development of modes of living and spiritual development of the rural community has been formulated, said Coconut Industries and Nation Building Minister Salinda Disanayake.

The Minister said so at a special meeting held at Ibbagamuwa Maha Vidyalaya to review the progress of projects being implemented in the Ibbagamuwa D. S. division under “Jathika Saviya - Gama Neguma” programme. A large number of Grama Niladharis, Agriculture Research Assistants, Samurdhi officers, Pradeshiya Sabha members and members of voluntary organisations were present.

The Minister further said that the Divisional Secretary, Grama Niladharis, Agriculture officers, Samurdhi officers and the local political leadership will form a “Janasabha” to identify the local needs and development strategies, the sources said. Janasabha would also be responsible for the infrastructure development and ensuring the standard of construction work. Villagers should be encouraged to cultivate export crops like Vanilla which has a great demand in the export market. A kilo of Vanilla in America is Rs. 45,000.

There is a great demand even for Goraka and Masbedda. A certain American Company produces valuable tablets using Goraka and Masbedda. Another objective of the programme is to protect small-holders from exploitation by middlemen. As a solution markets will be found for their produce. Most of the paddy farmers are unable to gain any profit from their cultivation.

The multi-national companies that produce insecticides, pesticides and fertiliser gain the profit.

The situation is same in the poultry farming too. A leading company that produces poultry food gain the full profit. We should change this system, “ he stressed.

It has been planned to introduce more and more agriculture-based industries.

There are 130 coconut-related industries at present. A sum of Rs. 59 million has been allocated for the development work in Hiriyala electorate for the year 2008.


Rahula scouts on Himalayan expedition


Four boy scouts of Rahula Vidyalaya have embarked on a treking to the Mount Everest. From L to R: G .A. Sanjaya, Kumara Mihindu Palihakkara, Principal, Rahula Vidyalaya, Kithsiri Liyanagamage, K.D. Pradeep and U.G. Prabath Madusanka. The Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena Foundation and several other organisations have extended their patronage to the daunting task undertaken by the Rahula students.

Four students of the scout troop of Rahula College Matara have undertaken the task of conquering the Mount Everest.

They began their expedition on 22nd of February 2008 to proceed to India. This is the first occasion a group of boys from the South attempting to climb Mt. Everest said the principal of Rahula Kithsiri Liyanagamage.

He further said it is the intention of voyagers to complete the journey within 22 days. Sri Lankan Embassies in India and Nepal will monitor movements of the Sri Lankan Scouts - Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena Foundation and several enterprises are providing monetary needs.

Boys who have undertaken the job are G.A. Sanjaya Kumara, Mihidu Palihakkara K.D. Pradeep and U.G. Prabath Madusanka.


Raids to prevent beach pollution

A sudden raid was conducted by the officials of several Government departments as they had received complaints from the residents that the waste items of tourist hotels and distilleries of Morogalla and Beruwala directed to the sea, polluting bathing spots on the beaches.

The raid was conducted by Beruwala Secretariat office, Beruwala Pradesiya Sabha, the officials of the Beruwala Medical officers and the Central Environmental Authority.

It was revealed that the investigations had detected that several pipe-lines were directed to the sea by underground secretly where nobody could.

Piyal Nisantha de Silva the Chairman Beruwala Pradesiya Sabha said that action would be taken to prevent the flowing of waste matter to the sea and river.

The raid was conducted by the secretary of Beruwala Pradesiya Sabha U.D.C. Jayalal, he Chief Public Health Inspector of Beruwala Chandrasiri Pinidiya, the Public Health Inspector of Alutgama Muditha Amarasingha and the Chairman of Beruwala Pradesiya Sabha Piyal Nisantha de Silva.


Lankan engineer’s electric mobike

A Sri Lankan mechanical engineer has been able to make a fuel and electric-powered motor bicycle. A man with innovative skills his interest has always been to make things that would facilitate the life of ordinary man. A graduate of the Moratuwa University and the architect of the new make, Deeptha Appuhamy of Marawila calls it a product of appropriate technology much suited to the third world. His recent visit to China when the electric mobikes are very popular and widely used has roused his burning interest. “The bike will definitely a boon to the low-income groups,” he stressed. It is powered by a 480DC battery and a re-charge and enables the rider to run 70 to 80 kilometres. In case the battery fails the rider could switch on to the fuel.

 

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