SRI LANKA NEWS – (AUGUST 2019) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor - eLanka

Non Infectious Diseases (NIDs) claim the lives of more than 100,000 persons in Sri Lanka annually. Of the 103,500 deaths reported, 10,000 succumbed due to diabetes, Health Ministry statistics indicates. Of adults in the country, 23.7% suffer from high blood cholesterol and/or are under medication for the disease. In terms of gender, 19.1% of adult males and 28.4% of female adults suffer from the condition, new research has revealed. Of those in the 40-69 age group, 9% face a 30% risk of being prone to heart diseases. Of the total adult population in the country, more than 90% suffer from at least one critical element of non contagious diseases, it has further come to light. Of this number, 73.5% suffer from one to two NIDs related critical factors, while 18.3% have three to five such elements, according to the new research. Heart diseases have been identified as the No. 1 killer in terms of NIDs in Sri Lanka, with 30% of the total deaths reported from hospitals, the Health Ministry said. The major major causes of NIDs are smoking, consumption of alcohol, consuming unhygienic food and lack of exercise, it noted. (Sunday Island, 4.8.2019)

Life has changed for those from Kilinochchi, Badulla, Moneragala and Batticaloa thanks to the water harvesting project of the Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum (LRWHF) which is nearing completion. The three-year project to provide safe disaster-resilient drinking water to floods and drought prone areas in the island commenced in 2016. The project also sought to provide more efficient disaster-resilient water supplies to vulnerable communities, strengthen the capacity of disaster-prone communities and institutionalization of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policies and practices related to flood and drought management. The project is funded by the USAID. While nearly 17,900 people from 391 households in the Kilinochchi, Badulla, and Moneragala Districts have been blessed with safe drinking water by the LRWHF’s project, 48 schools and ten medical clinics have been installed with RWH units. In terms of storage facility and capacity, 8,000 litre capacity storage tanks are promoted for domestic use while, 10,000 to 16,000 litre capacity tanks are promoted for hospitals and 30,000 litre capacity for schools. A domestic RWH tank in the dry zone which receives less than 900 mm annual rainfall can meet the daily water demand of 60-70 litres for cooking and drinking, during the driest days off a small roof (50 m2) catchment. The project is providing safe drinking water and promoting sanitation facilities among 4200 families from 25 Grama Niladhari Divisions in five Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Batticaloa. Pure drinking water facilities are also provided for 54 government schools, benefitting around 10000 students.. Only 30% of the households in the entire Batticaloa District have piped water connections and many of them cannot afford water connections. (Daily Island, 10.8.2019)

Read More →


7, Benambra Street, Broadmeadows, Vic 3047, Australia.
Telephone + 61 3 9309 4040
E-mail < >
Web Site < >

Victor Meldor


                               ACQUISITIONS   FOR  THE  MONTH  OF  JULY  2019


  1. Constitutional Reform and Crisis in Sri Lanka edited by Asanga Welikala, 2019
  2. Sri Lanka: The Recent Past, Brief Essays in History & Politics by Prf. K. M. de Silva, 2018
  3. Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies in South and Southeast Asia, edited by Prof. K. M. de Silva, 2015
  4. Sri Lanka: Come Wind, Come Weather. A Political History of Sri Lanka Since Independence in Narrative Form, Vol 1,2015,by Prof. K. M. de


  1. Sri Lanka: Come Wind, Come Weather. A Political History of Sri Lanka Since Independence in Narrative Form, Vol 2,2016,by Prof. K. M. de


  1. A Field Guide to the Bats of Sri Lanka by Wipula Bandara Yapa, 2017.
  2. The Kandy Asala Maha Perahera by Lorna Dewaraja, 2018.
  3. The ‘Traditional Homelands’ of the Tamils. Separatist Ideology in Sri Lanka: A Historical Appraisal, by Prof K. M. de Silva, 2013.
  4. The Odyssey & Living Legacy of sieur de La Nerolle. The French Lieutenant of the Expedition Escadre de Perse to Ceylon in 1672 by Yasmin 

    Rajapakse, 2018.

      (No’s 1 – 9, donated by Hemal Gurusinghe, Chelsea Heights, Vic)

  1. Marian Epic, Tewatta’s Fulfilment. The Dedication of the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, February 6, 1974.
  2. The Enchanted Circle, A Sri Lankan Memoir of the Rosary by Manny Candappa, 1997
  3. The Palm of His Hand, by E. C. T. Candappa, 2003
  4. Parish Hymnal, St Mary’s Church, Dehiwela, Sri Lanka, 1991.
  5. ‘Sing Every Song’ – Bi lingual Song Book, Sri Lanka, 2001
  6.  Sri Lanka’s Secrets. How the Rajapaksha Regime Gets Away With Murder by Trevor Grant, 2014.
  7. Journey for Justice, The Life & Work of Rev. Fr Michael Rodrigo, OMI  by Nandini Gunewardena, 2017.
  8. Ceylon, Historical Sketch & Guide by The Ceylon Publicity Committee.
  9.  The Power of Good People, Surviving Sri Lanka’s Civil War, by Para Paheer & Alison Corke, 2017.
  10.  Symbols of Conflict, A Novel by Cedric Forster, 1989
  11. Emergency ’58, The Story of the Ceylon Race Riots by Tarzie Vittachi, 1958
  12. Tenth Parliament of Sri Lanka, compiled and edited by W. G. Goonerathne & R. S. Karynarathne, 1989
  13. Parliament of Sri Lanka – Lake House, Colombo
  14. The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, The British Period, Vol 1, 1795 – 1844, The Colombo Vicariate, by Fr. V. Perniola, SJ, 1992.
  15. Reflections – Ceylonese Welfare Organisation Inc, Foundation & Journey, 1973 – 2012 (Facsimile) 
  16. A History of the Southern Vicariate of Colombo, Sri Lanka, being also, The History of the Apostolate of the Sylvestrine-Benedictine Monks in the

     Island, by Dom Bede Barcutta, OSB, 1991.

               (No’s 10 – 25, donated by Clair Herft, Glen Waverley, Vic)

  1. A Concise History of Ceylon, From the Earliest Times to the Arrival of the Portuguese in 1505, by Nicholas & Paranavitana, 1961.
  2. Essays in Railroading by Udaya Peeligama, 2016.
  3. Essays on Ceylon Railways (1864 – 1964), by Hemasiri Fernando, 2017.
  4.  Tales of the Blue Elephant, Life & Times with the Ceylon Police by Douglas Ranmuthugala, 2000.
  5.  Symbols of Conflict, A Novel by Cedric Forster, 1989.
  6.  Birdsong & Other Tales by Carl Muller, 2000.
  7.  Crosscurrents, Sri Lanka & Australia at Cricket by Michael Roberts & Alfred James, 1998.
  8.  Aspects of Sinhala Folklore by J. B. Disanayaka, 2004.
  9.  Best Loved Folk Tales of Sri Lanka by Manel Ratnatunga, 1999.
  10.  Evolution & Development of Water & Soil Conservation Ecosystems from Ancient Dry Zone Forest Garden to Modern Jaffna Market Garden by 
  11. L. O. Mendis, 2001.
  12. WTO, Globalization & Eppawala after Seattle, edited by D. L. O. Mendis, 2000.
  13.  Pugwash, Globalization & Eppawala – Pugwash Betrayed ? or Eppawala Betrayed ? by D. L. O. Mendis, 2000.
  14. History of Kingship in Ceylon, up to the Fourth Century AD, by Tilak Hettiarachchy, 1972.
  15.  Guide to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), by H. A. J. Hulugalle, 1973
  16. Ceremonial Dances of the Sinhalese, An Inquiry into Sinhalese Folk Religion, by Otaker Pertold, 1973.
  17.  Wild Ceylon, Describing in Particular the Lives of the Present-Day Veddas, by R. L. Spittel1951.
  18.  Ceylon, A General Description of the Island & Its Inhabitants, by Henry Marshall, 1969.
  19.   Water Heritage of Sri Lanka by D. L. O. Mendis, 2002
  20. Village Folk Tales of Ceylon, collects and translated by H. Parker, Vol 1, 1971.
  21.   Village Folk Tales of Ceylon, collects and translated by H. Parker, Vol 2, 1972.
  22. Village Folk Tales of Ceylon, collects and translated by H. Parker, Vol 3, 1973.
  23. A History of Sri Lanka, by Prof . K. M. de Silva, 2005.
  24. Bronzes From Ceylon Chiefly in the Colombo Museum, Series A, Mo 1, by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, 1914
  25. Rail 2000, Sri Lanka Railway, 1864 – 2000 by Priyal de Silva, 2000.
  26.  Innovation & Self – Reliance, Kulasinghe Felicitation Volume, History of Engineering in Sri Lanka, Vol 2, Part 1, by D. L. O. Mendis, 2001.
  27. Celebrations – Fifty Years of Sri Lanka Interactions, edited by C. A. & I. H. vanden Driesen,
  28. Art of the Ancient Sinhalese, by Senarat Paranavitana, 1971.
  29. The Story of Sigiri, by Senarat Paranavitana, 1972.
  30. Island of Light, Buddhism in Sri Lanka by T. Y. Lee, 2010.
  31. The Light of Asia, by Sir Edwin Arnold, 1994.
  32. The Story of Sinhalese Painting, by D. B. Dhanapala, 1957.
  33. Stories from the History of Ceylon, Book 1, by Marie Musaeus-Higgins, 1997.
  34. Railways of Sri Lanka, by David Hyatt, 2000
  35. Early Prints of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1800 – 1900, by R. K. de Silva, 1985.
  36. Ridma Rekha, A collection of deco-motifs based on traditional style. Decorative Motiffs by Jayasiri Semage, 1996.
  37. Lost Cities of Asia, by Wim Swaan, 1976.
  38. Water For People & Nature, Arumugam Commemoration Volume, Sri Lanka Water Heritage, History of Water Conservation, Vol 2, by Bhadra

            Kamaladasa, 2003

              (No’s 26 – 62, donated by Mrs Srimathie de Zoysa, Glen Waverley (Her late Husband, Nihal de Zoysa’s Collection)           


  1. Lanka Railway Digest, Ten Issues from Vol 1, Issue 2 to Vol 6, Issue 1 (assorted)

 (No 1, donated by Mrs Srimathie de Zoysa, Glen Waverley (Her late Husband, Nihal de Zoysa’s Collection)

  1. ‘Serendib’, The In Flight Magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, Vol 39, No 3, May 2019.
  • ‘Serendib’, The In Flight Magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, Vol 39, No 4, June 2019.
  • ‘Lankan Isle’, A Collector’s Digest, Vol 2, No 2, April – June 2019 

  (No’s 1 – 3, donated by Hemal Gurusinghe, Chelsea Heights, Vic)

  • ‘The Ceylankan’ -Journals of the Ceylon Society of Australia, Journal 68 to 85, inclusive.

  (No 4, donated by Clair Herft, Glen Waverley, Vic)

  • ‘Serendib’, The In Flight Magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, Vol 39, No 4, June 2019.
  • ‘Serendib’, The In Flight Magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, Vol 39, No 5, July 2019.

  (No’s 6 – 7, donated by Shenon Fernando, Roxburgh Park, Vic)


  1. Large selection of assorted Newsletters – Australia / Sri Lanka Welfare Guild Inc, Ceylonese Welfare Organisation Inc, Eighty Club Melbourne 


            (No’s 1, donated by Clair Herft, Glen Waverley, Vic)

  1. Newsletter – Eighty Club Melbourne Inc, 2nd Edition, July – October 2019, Newsletter No 149.
  2. Newsletter  – Ceylonese Welfare Organisation Inc (CWO), Vol 37, Issue No 2
  3. “Silverscene” – Newsletter, Silver Fawn Club Inc, Qld, Issue: July / August 2019
  4. Newsletter – Burgher Welfare League of WA Inc, Vol 30.1, July 2019.
  5. :Outreach: Newsletter – Voluntary Outreach Club Inc, July 2019.


  1. Souvenir, “Off the Beaten Tack 2019”, CDF Transport Annual Ball
    (No 1, donated by Hemal Gurusinghe, Chelsea Heights, Vic

Read More →


Compiled by Victor Melder

(E & O.E.)
(JULY  2019)
Victor Meldor

HENDRICKS – FERGUS,  husband of the late Maureen, father of Portia and Shawn, father-in-law of Silmiya, grandfather of Dephane. Brother of Horatious & late Lorna, late Hiyazeene & Boby Crusz, Fabian & Lorraine, Sheila & Herbert Kreltsheim, Rodney & Wendy and Esme & Ralph De Visser, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 4.7.2019) 

MARTYN – SCHOLASTICE (MARIE),  wife of G. A. (Maurice) Martyn, mother of Sandra Walgama, Charmaine Mathews and Sean Martyn, grandmother of Shane, Jessica, Shanese, Shontel, Shanelle and Stefan. Daughter of late Clement and Zena Pereira, sister of late Kevin, Angela, Therese, Bernard, Marie, Annette and Bernadette, in Sri Lanka. – 74, Halpe Mawatha, Kandana, Sri Lanka. (Daily News 9.7.2019) 

KELLY – GERTRUDE, wife of late Rex Kelly, mother of late Trevor, Tyronne, Therese, Rhonda, Radley, Sandra and late Rennet, daughter and sons-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 11.7.2019)

PULLE – BERTHA MONICA (nee Marcelline), wife of Dr Christopher Pulle. Daughter of Mr & Mrs B.M. Marcelline, sister of Frances, Greg, Annette, Heddy, Mark, Berny, Billy and Hilary, sister-in-law of the Pulle family – Dunstan, late Josephine, Stan and Austin, on July 7, 2019, in California, USA (Daily News, 13.7.2019 and contributed)

ROELOFSZ – ANGELA DAISY,  wife of Malcolm, mother of Jennifer and Geoffrey, mother-in-law of Peter, on May 25, 2019, aged 102, in Sydney. (Sydney Morning Herald, 13.7.2019)

JOACHIM – CLAUDE DENZIL, father of Aubrey and Doyne Joachim, father-in-law of Nelum and Angela, grandfather of Ryle and Dale, Nichole, Linda and Suzette, great grandfather of Zara and Hazel, in Sydney on July 10, 2019, aged 96 years. (Elanka, 12.7.2019)

BARTLETT – DR RENE. Wife of late Dr Jayam. Sister of Inez Gunawardena and of the late Bertille De Silva, Leah Fernando, Maureen Jayatilleke, Dr Melva Perera and the late Fr Claver  Perera, in Sri Lanka. – 19, First Lane, Ratmalana, Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 20.7.2019)

JESURASINGHAM – DR ANTHONY ALEXANDER, husband of Imelda, father of Nathan and Elaine. Brother of Violet, Wilfred, Josephine, Hamilton, Daisy, Fr Patrick, Philip, Jeyam, Nessy and Rajie, in Brisbane, aged 84 years. (Brisbane Courier Mail, 20.7.2019)

FERNANDO – MARY BEATRICE,  wife of late Stanley Fernando, mother of Sunimal and Chrysanthe. Sister of the late Eva, Leela, Mervyn, Violet and Margie, in Sydney. (Daily News, 25.7.2019)

VANDERWERT – ROLLO, husband of Betzy, father and father-in-law of Dexter – Asuntha, Pollyann – Kumar Fernando, Sharon, Marissa – Olga Perera, Chomo – Tharanga, Sandra – Jude Gunasekera, Rezleigh – Pomoda, grandfather of Christine, Marlon, Fiorenza, Tania, Sara, Shanie, Naveen, Kevin, Genesius and Malathi, great grandfather of Malinka, Maleesha, Khane, Eron, Jeynon, in Sri Lanka. – 152, Suhada Mawatha, Mahahunupitiya, Negombo, Sri Lanka. (Daily News 25.7.2019)

APONSO – LUCIAN STANLEY, husband of late Berryl, father of Shivanthie and Lasha, father-in-law of Toni and Gerard. Brother of late Nimal (George), Connie and Jackson, in Melbourne on July 22, 2019. (Daily News, 26.7.2019)

MOLLIGODA – ERIC WENDY (nee Pereira), 03.02.1944  – 10. 07.2019, wife of Bandula, mother of Suriya. Sister of Joan, Edda (Switz), Jeanne, late Heather, Sylvia (Lalla) and Megan (UK), Rudy, Clem and Esther (Aust), in Melbourne. < > (Daily News, 26.7.2019 & 31.7.2019)) 

GUNASINGHE – E.D., husband of Chandralatha, father of Darshana and Ajitha, father-in-law of Yameng and Tharishi, grandfather of Ruwana and Sarah, Seshan, Luckni, Harini, Kushil, Chaniru and Ashni, great grandfather of Isaiah, in Sydney. (Daily News, 27.7.2019)

ELIAS – CLEMENT JOHN, husband of Margo (dec), father of Neil (dec), Sandie (dec) and Trish, grandfather of Tracey, Nigel, Marion, Jo, Mel and Kate, great grandfather of 9, in West Australia. (The West Australian, 27.7.2019)

FRANCIS – JOSEPH  JEROME, husband of Gail, father of Jason and Joel. Son of late Giles and Therese (Dolly), brother of late Jennifer and of Darrel, brother-in-law of Dicky, Jacqueline, Dave Rhonda, Astrid, Tania and Kevin, in Sri Lanka. (Sunday Observer, 28.7.2019)

FAREED – YVONNE (YASMIN),  nee Koch, wife of late Colonel A. M. M. Fareed, mother of Rev. Richard and Dawn Brohier, grandmother of Andre and Amanda, great grandmother of Asher, Sierra and Aaliyah. Daughter of late Walter and Ruby Koch, sister of late Mervyn, late Zena Koch (Syd), Mavis & late Elmo White (Syd), late Louis & Fortune (UK), sister-in-law of late Inudeen, late Kahideen & Lyna, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 31.7.2019)

Note: All spelling of names as taken from Sri Lankan newspapers

Read More →


7, Benambra Street, Broadmeadows, Vic 3047, Australia.

Telephone + 61 3 9309 4040

E-mail < >

Web Site < >


                               ACQUISITIONS   FOR  THE  MONTH  OF  JUNE  2019



  1. Cab Forward 4294, Southern Pacific Railroad’s Signature Locomotive by David N. Anderson, et al, 2018

(Donated by Udaya Peeligama, Baulkham Hills, NSW)

  1. The Penguin Book of Hell, edited by Scott. G. Bruce, 2018

(Donated by Hemal Gurusinghe, Chelsea Heights, Vic)

  1. Fond Reminiscence, A Memoir by Sheila De Zoysa, 2019  (Donated by the Author, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka)
  2. Legends All, ‘First’ in Sport in Sri Lanka, by Asoka Goonetilleke, 2016
  3. A Fiery Finale, Memories, Chronicles, Essays by Tissa Devendra, 2014
  4. Those Were the Days by P. G. Punchihewa, Reprint 2016
  5. The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons by Ashok Ferry, 2016 

 (No’s 4 – 7, Donated by Ajit St John, Meadow Heights, Vic)  

  1. A Short Historical Review of the Sylvestrine Monks in Ceylon, from 1845 to 1920 (Facsimile) by Re. Fr Laurence Hyde, OSB

 (Donated by Chris Drieberg, South Oakleigh, Vic)



  1. ‘Serendib’, The In Flight Magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, Vol 39, No 1, March 2019
  2. ‘Serendib’, The In Flight Magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines, Vol 39, No 3, May 2019

 (No’s 1 – 2, Donated by Ajit St John, Meadow heights, Vic)

  1. Hi!! – The Society Magazine, Sri Lanka, Series 17, Vol 2, 2019.


  1. Newsletter, St Peters College Old Boys Social Club Melbourne Inc, Autumn/Winter 2019 issue.
  2. Newsletter, Burgher Association (Australia) Inc, Winter 2019 issue.
  3. “The Harbinger”, Family Magazine, Australia / Sri Lanka Welfare Guild (ASWG) Inc, Vol 44, No 3, June 2019







Read More →




7, Benambra Street, Broadmeadows, Vic 3047, Australia.

Telephone + 61 3 9309 4040

E-mail < >

Web Site < >






  1.  Tides of Violence: Mapping the Sri Lankan Conflict from 1983 to 2009, May 2019 – Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Sydney, NSW 2000.

(Donated by Hemal Gurusinghe, Chelsea Heights, Vic)

  1.  ‘Viva Italia’, An Introduction to Basic Italian with Opening Exercises in English & Sinhala by Alex Van Arkadie, 2019

 (Donated by the Author, Rome, Italy)

  1.   Miracles Attributed to Ven. Fr Joseph Vaz, & Pastoral Letters, 1987
  2.   The Jeweled Isle, Art from Sri Lanka by R.Brown and et al, et al (Donated by Michael Roberts, Adelaide, SA)


       CORRECTION (Title) – BOOKS, APRIL 2019

  1. Riding the Zeitgeist, The Hemaka Amarasuriya Story by Savithri Rodrigo, 2018  (Donated by the Author, Dehiwela, Sri Lanka)


  1.  The ‘Ceylankan’ – Journal of the Ceylon Society of Australia, Journal 86, Vol XXII, No 2, May 2019.


  1.  The Journal of the Australia Ceylon Fellowship Inc (ACF), Vol 61, No 2, May 2019.
  2.  “Silverscene”, Newsletter of the Silver Fawn Club Inc, Qld, May/June 2019 issue.
  3.  “The Vine”, Evergreen’s Newsletter, Operation Hope Inc, April 2019


  1.  Sinhala Muslim Relations in Sri Lanka by M. D.D.Pieris, Dr. A.M.A. Azeez Memorial Oration

Read More →

OBITUARIES: Compiled by Victor Melder (E & O.E.) – (MAY  2019)

DE ZYLVA, MAURICE, in Melbourne, on May 2, 2019. (Contributed)


DE JONG – OUIDA, wife of late Herbert, mother of Rolph, late Jeffery and od Travis and Graham, mother-in-law of Cheryl, Katy, Tamaris and Rehana. Grandmother of Nicola, Natalie, Hamish, Annalease, Griffith, Neliya, Cheyanne and Jaclyn, great grandmother of seven, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 3.5.2019)


KLEYNIGNATIUS  LOYALA,  husband of late Pushpom Kleyn (Annie), father of Ann, Belinda, Charles, Delrin, Esther and Fritzroy,  father-in-law of Jude, Neville, Shyama, Frank (Italy), Roy and Dilhani,  grandfather of Roger, Shani, Remien, Remona  & Dexter, Remeena, Rozanna  & Ashen, Ryan, Julia & Dinith (Australia), Sharia & Jian, Gayasha, Natasha, Deanna, Jenny (UK) & Mario (UK), Jessica (UK), Jesmine (UK), Fiona, Demien, Kevin, Trevor, Bernedeen and Barbra, great-grandfather of Dion, Sheilly, Shenelle, Diendra and Daranza, in Sri Lanka. – 55/1, Alwis Town, Hendala, Wattala, Sri Lanka (Daily Island, 4.5.2019)


SMITH – DANE, husband of Padminie, father of Patrick. Son of late Elaine Mortier, step brother of late Christoper Mortier-Joseph, in Sri Lanka. – 3/9, Medagodawatte, Thumbowila, Piliyandala, Sri Lanka. (Contributed)


DELAMOTTE – GORDON SEARBY, husband of Val (dec), father, grandfather and great grandfather, in NSW. (Central Coast Express, NSW, 16.5.2019)


GREBE – BELLA, wife of late Sam, mother of Jeremy, mother-in-law of Roshika, grandmother of Dimitri, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 17.5.2019)


DE WAAS – MARGIE, wife of late Raymond De Waas, mother of Sandya, Sarto and Sriyantha , mother-in-law of Nimal, Lumina and Dujeewa, grandmother of Shivantha, Rochelle, Harshaka, Imali, Hanisha and Kavisha, great grandmother of Ethan. Daughter of late Christopher and Annie, sister of Rev. Fr. Joe Paul, Rev. Sr. Rose and rev. Fr. Damian, and sister of late Patricia, Therese, Eddie, Aloy and Rev. Sr Clement, in Sri Lanka, aged 84 years. – ‘Rosa Mystica’, Weboda Road, Bolawalana, Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 18.5.2019)


BARTHOLOMEUSZ – EVELYN ROSE, (July 11, 1926 – May 13, 2019), wife of the late Risien, mother of Chiron, Dylan and Delyse, mother-in-law of Anne-Marie, Kelly and Frances, grandmother of Derena and Matt, Ramon and Kate, Lorenz, Nelson, Elana, Brandon, great grandmother of Jake, Olivia and Henry. Sister of Beryl and the late Mary, in Adelaide. (The Adelaide Advertiser, 18..52019)


FONSEKA – BARBARA MIGNON (nee Ferdinands), wife of the late Wilton Fonseka, mother of Tamara, Rochelle, Suzie, David, Sandra and Nathalie, mother-in-law of Neville Davidson, Ryan Jaliel, Wilhelm Wijesekara, Ingrid Gibson and the  Jeremy Benedict and Lalith Akmeemana, grandmother of Salomie, Tina, Rosalie, Jodasche, Tracy, Trudy, Amanda, Vanessa, Deanne and Wendell, great grandmother of Sarah, Stacey, Ethan, Hannah, Dwayne, Kyra, Kimaya, Kavish, Kalena and Aiden. Daughter of the late Anna Myrtle and Oswald Arthur Ferdinands, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 22.5.2019)


MACK – CHRIS,  (27.03.1949 – 17.05.2019), husband of Ruth, father of Craig, Margaret and Ken, father-in-law of Dean, grandfather of Harry, Joel, Logan, Toby and Cohen. Brother of Roberta (dec) and Lindy, in Canberra. (The Canberra Times, 22.5.2019)


BRUNTON – RODNEY NEVILLE, husband of Wimaladevi, father of Hermoine and Suzyanne, grandfather of Savinda, Sohan and Shannon, great grandfather. Kylie. Son of late Joseph and Mary Brunton, brother of Celine, Doris, Sandy, late Noeline and Clement, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 23.5.2019)


KOELMEYER – NOELINE MARY, wife of Elmo, mother of Rodney, Desmond, Elvis and Romain, mother-in-law of Eleanor, Raywathy, Wendy and Tyrone, grandmother of Jacqueline, Richie, Reeve, Natasha, Tashya, Liza, Crystal, Klenn, Liam. Sister of Mignonne, Anita, late Benjamin, Olga and Milroy, sister-in-law of Kalyanaratne , Bendedict, Emil, Jacinta and late Ilene, in Sri Lanka. – 38A, Christ the King Avenue, Mahabage, Sri Lanka. (Daily News 23.5.2019).


GERREYN – STELMOND, husband of the late Blossom, father of Lorraine Lawson, Cedric, Patrick (UK) and Susie Ranchhod (Aust), on May 20, 2019. HIS BROTHER, GERREYN – HENRY, husband of the late Audrey, father of Tania and Owain (UK) and the late Trisha, on May 21, 2019. (Daily News, 24.5.2019)  


GUNASEKARA – YVONNE, (nee Rebera), wife of  late Trevor, mother of Debbie and Warren, mother-in-law of Sajith Sumanasiri, grandmother of Pehan and Vehan. Sister of late Allan, Stanley (Aust) and late Daphne, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 24.5.2019)


THOMAS – PAULINE. Wife of the late Mr. J. Thomas, mother of Gabriel, Noel, Mary Anne, Leo, Felix, Julius and Tania, mother-in-law of Mercy, Wijee, Dilani, Brenda, Angeline, Ravi and Godfrey, in Sri Lanka. (Sunday Observer, 26.5.2019)


ALOYSIUS – DR DENNIS JESUTHASAN, husband of the late Chrisse (nee Perera), father of Rohini, Ranjini, Ranee, Prof. Rohan and Ruvani, father-in-law of John Garrett, Anil Fernando and Campion Fernando, grandfather of Angelo, Romano, late Roshika, Ashan, Cherani, Rashini, Tiyani and Ravin. Brother of Lucy Page and of the late Cyril Gardiner, Mangalam St George, Pushpam Savundranayagam, Joe, Dr Hubert and Peter, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 27.5.2019)


DANISTER – MRS TILAKA, mother of Isha Perera (nee Kariyawasam), mother-in-law of Claude Perera, in Melbourne. (Contributed)


BALASINGAM – PATHMASIRI, husband of Ann Raji, father of Nithiya Shri, Kaaviyansiri and Samudra Sri. Son of Velupillai Balasingam and late Maheswari Balasingam, son-in-law of Rajeswaran and late Amalasothy (Rani). Brother of late Mangalasiri and Nimalsiri, brother-in-law of Aravinthan (Melb), Sumangala (UK) and Yasodai Sivapriya (Syd), in Melbourne on May 24, 2019. (Daily News 29.5.2019)


HINGERT – JEAN, wife of late Edgar, mother of Shane and Shama, Nigel and Melanie, grandmother of Ryan, Dyan, Clire and Jason, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 29.5.2019)

Note: All spelling of names as taken from Sri Lankan newspapers




Read More →

SRI LANKA NEWS IN BRIEF (APRIL 2019) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor MeldorThe Budget 2019 was passed in Parliament yesterday with a majority of 45 votes. It received 119 votes in favour and 74 against. The TNA, the SLMC and the CWC voted with the government while the Joint Opposition, JVP and some SLFP members voted against it. Many SLFP members were absent. At the end of the debate, a division was called by MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera winding up the second reading of the Budget 2019 themed ‘Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor’ said that the Opposition’s criticisms of the budget were unfair and baseless.  He said that it was the country’s 73rd budget and the UNF government’s first budget. It was the fifth budget of the present government. “This is the first budget we presented as a government led by the UNF,” he said. Minister Samaraweera made the Budget Speech in Parliament on March 5. The second reading of the Budget debate was held from March 6-12. The Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill (2019) was passed on March 12 by the House with a simple majority of 43 votes with 119 voting in favour and 76 opposing. The Third Reading of the Appropriation Bill or the Committee Stage Debate on the expenditure heads for each ministry, commenced on March 13 and continued until yesterday. During the committee stage of the debate the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Government were defeated. The supplementary estimates presented for the two ministries were passed yesterday evening after the vote. When the two expenditure heads were taken the TNA informed Parliament that it would abstain from voting for the Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils (Daily Mirror, 6.4.2019)

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal from the Minister of Tourism to issue visa on arrival to tourists visiting Sri Lanka from 39 countries. Cabinet also decided to issue these visas on gratis basis as an incentive to attract tourists. The programme will be a pilot project effective for an initial period of six months commencing May 1 2019 and ending October 1, 2019. The programme will be considered for continuation thereafter based on the progress achieved during the pilot period. The countries included in the visa on arrival programme includes UK, USA, nations from EU, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Switzerland. Minister Amaratunga stated that the programme was being introduced to boost arrivals during what is usually perceived as the ‘off season.’ “We will run this as a pilot project initially in order to increase arrivals during the off season. We estimate that this initiative will result in a 20 percent increase in arrivals. Depending on its success in the initial period we will decide whether to continue with it,” Minister Amaratunga stated. The Department of Immigration and Emigration is now in the process of making necessary arrangements to implement the visa on arrival programme from May 1. Amaratunga added that the travel and tourism industry stakeholders had welcomed the move as a step in the right direction. In addition to the visa relaxation Sri Lanka Tourism in association with airlines, hotels and other industry stakeholders will also launch a discounted country promotion package. (Daily News, 6.4.2019)

In what was described as an “alarming trend” by wildlife officials, 24 deaths of elephants were reported from the Polonnaruwa wildlife zone within the first three months of this year. In addition, three human deaths were also reported within this period in related incidents. During last year (2018), the number of deaths of elephants within this zone was placed at 76, while 21 humans also lost their lives in connected incidents. In comparison, 2017 witnessed the lowest within the zone; 44 elephants and 16 humans. Illegal human activity within the wildlife zone and its environs has aggravated the human-elephant conflict, says W. D. M. J. Wickremasinghe, the assistant director in charge of the zone. Referring to the latest figures within the first three months of this year, he said many of the jumbos were killed due to electrocution, gunshot injuries, rail accidents and as a result of falling victim to hakka patas explosive devices. (Sunday Island, 7.4.2019)


More than 500,000 people have been affected by the severe drought, according to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC). The DMC said, 529,420 persons, belonging to 136,329 families, had been affected by the prevailing drought. The worst affected areas are in the Northern Province. In Delft, Kayts, Karainagar, Velanai and Maruthankarny areas in the Jaffna District, 33,488 persons, belonging to 24,207 families, have been affected while in the Mannar District 53,569 people of 13,129 families are in distress. In the Kalutara District, seawater flowing into the Kalu Ganga has affected over 244,065 people from 58,175 families. According to the Department of Meteorology, the sun will be directly above the latitudes of Sri Lanka until 15th April while fairly heavy rain falls above 75 mm can be expected at some places in Uva, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern provinces. Director General of the Meteorology Department Athula Karunanayake said warm weather would continue until May. (Sunday Island, 11.4.2019)

Sri Lanka’s first research statellite ‘Raavana 1’ which was released yesterday reached NASA’s International Space Station at around 6:30 pm (local time) today (Apr 19). The statellite, designed and built by two young Sri Lankans had left for space aboard the Cygnus cargo spacecraft and had neared the Space Station at around 4:40 pm (local time) before being accepted by the same. The spacecraft spanning 11.3 centimetres in length and weighing 1.5 kilograms, was the brainchild of research engineers Tharindu Dayaratne and Dulani Chamikaat at Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology. (Times online, 20.4.2019)

A recent study has shown that the ban on polythene is largely ineffective and unlikely to reduce its use in the country. Sampath Fernando, a research officer of the Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute, says that in terms of the findings of the study conducted by him, the majority of a random sample of 1,390 people of the Western province believed that the government’s ban on polythene had failed to generate the desired results. The ban is largely ineffective without a proper alternative being offered on the use of polythene, the study outlined. Of the people interviewed during the study, 62% were of the view that the prohibition on polythene had failed to impact positively on achieving its objective of reducing environmental degradation, the researcher said. In the case of consumers using polythene, 41% said that they were now using more polythene bags (commonly called ‘siri siri’ bags) than before the ban came into effect. Overall, it can be concluded that the ban on polythene is merely restricted to paper, as practically, there has been no tangible impact in efforts to curb its use in a bid to save the environment, Fernando said. The police have no powers under the law to enforce the ban though there exists a separate unit in the police department to ensure environmental protection. The environmental police are expected to be brought into the picture to tackle the growing threat of widespread polythene use, he said. “We are waiting for a directive to crack the whip on the indiscriminate use of polythene”, the police official said. (Sunday Island, 21.4.2019)

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, promised to inform the public, after consulting the police, whether any organised group was behind yesterday’s attacks that claimed 207 lives and injured over 450 people. Wickremesinghe’s statement comes in the wake of attacks, at churches, hotels, a reception hall and at a residence in Dematagoda. Former President and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said that it was the result of weakening the security under the current administration. “We defeated brutal terrorists and ensured the safety of the people. But those who played a significant role in this, including intelligence officers and security forces personnel, have been harassed and demoralised. I blame the government for taking us back to the dark ages of fear. Nine of the deceased were foreign tourists, including four Chinese nationals. Police Spokesperson SSP Ruwan Gunasekera said that they suspected an organised group had carried out the attacks and that the CID has been entrusted with the investigations. “All were bomb blasts and right now we suspect that the bomb in Negombo was a suicide attack. We cannot confirm it at this moment whether the others too were suicide attacks.” Three suspects, all Sri Lankans had been arrested in connection with the attacks, Gunasekera said. Their identities and whether they were linked to an international terrorism groups could most probably be revealed today or tomorrow, he said. Gunasekera added that steps had been taken to identify all those who died in the attacks and to expedite the postmortems. Blasts rocked three churches, St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, Kotahena, St.Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Katana and Zeon Church, Batticaloa and three Colombo hotels, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury. Subsequent explosions took place opposite a reception hall near the Dehiwala Zoo and inside a house in Mahawila Gardens Dematagoda. Three policemen from the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) were also killed during the blast in Dematagoda while another policeman was injured. “We received information about some suspects when we were investigating the blasts in the three churches and Colombo hotels, which occurred between 8.30 and 9.45 am yesterday. Based on this information some CCD officials went to inspect the house and when they attempted to question the residents, an explosion took place. Three CCD officers died and it took us some hours to recover their bodies which were under the rubble,” he said. (Daily Island, 22.4.2019)

Read More →

SRI  LANKA  NEWS  IN  BRIEF  –  MARCH 2019 – By Victor Melder

Victor Meldor    The International Monetary Fund on Friday revived a $1.5 billion bailout for Sri Lanka that was suspended over a government power struggle last year that seriously slowed economic growth. The Washington-based lender said officials visiting Colombo agreed to re-activate the three-year loan, which started in 2016 and spread the instalments over an additional year.”The team reached understandings at the staff level with the Sri Lankan authorities… to allow more time for the completion of the economic reform agenda,” the IMF said. The Fund had been due to release an instalment in October when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked his Prime Minister and called fresh elections, triggering a two month power struggle in the island nation. Because of the crisis, the economy grew by just 3.0 percent last year, making it the slowest expansion in 17 years, according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The IMF said it expected Sri Lanka’s growth to improve to 3.5 percent in 2019. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court eventually held that Sirisena’s actions were unconstitutional, allowing Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to resume his duties. Wickremesinghe told parliament in January that his dismissal on October 26 was a “coup” and a “death blow” to the economy. During the crisis, three international credit rating agencies downgraded the country’s debt and the extra borrowing costs forced Sri Lanka to abandon plans to raise loans abroad .But the IMF noted that Sri Lanka’s economy was “gradually stabilising after the weak economic performance in 2018, in the context of external shocks and domestic political uncertainty.” Official figures show that Sri Lanka will have to repay a record $5.9 billion in foreign loans in 2019. One of the biggest drags on the balance sheet is national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines, which has accumulated losses and debts of over $2 billion. The government has failed to privatise the airline, but the president has revived attempts to find a partner who could inject new capital to keep the airline afloat. (Sunday Island, 3.3.2019)

Sri Lanka’s biggest mass grave predates the country’s bloody civil war by hundreds of years, according to an independent carbon dating report unveiled in a court. The remains of over 300 men, women and children were found last year at a site in the northern Mannar district, where ethnic Tamil guerrillas fought security forces during a 37-year ethnic war that ended in May 2009. Sri Lanka’s Office on Missing Persons (OMP) funded tests on the remains to determine whether the victims were killed during the conflict, which claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people. But a Miami-based laboratory concluded that the victims likely died up to 615 years ago – predating even the first European colonisation of the Indian Ocean Island by the Portuguese – according to testimony in the Mannar Magistrates’ Court. The mass grave in the former war zone was discovered by construction workers. The OMP, which is independent of the Government but has a State mandate, said just over 300 skeletal remains had been found, including the remains of about 20 children. (Daily Financial Times, 8.3.2019)

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, yesterday, announced that all public servants would receive an additional allowance of Rs. 2,500 from July 1, and that a pension adjustment would be made on the same day to rectify all pension anomalies in respect of those who retired before 2016. The government has made an additional allocation of Rs. 40 billion for the increase in public servants’ allowance and Rs. 12 billion to rectify the pension anomalies. Presenting the government’s delayed budget, the Finance Minister reminded the House that the salaries of public servants had been increased by 107 percent under the current government. The Finance Minister, delivering the 2019 Budget speech, themed, ‘Focusing on Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor’, said that several salient budgetary proposals were the removal of production tax imposed on small trucks, provision of milk to students in rural schools free of charge, increasing allocation for development of temples from Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 1 million, increasing allowance for persons with special needs from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000, allocating Rs 1,480 million to provide a 5,000-rupee allowance to kidney patients, increasing the allowances given to armed forces and increasing the salaries of teachers. Another salient feature was the proposal to give full scholarships to the top scorers at GCE AL students for them to study at prestigious international universities such as Harvard, MIT, Oxford and Cambridge. Samaraweera said 14 students would be selected for the programme in the current year and the number would be increased to 28 next year. The scholarship recipients would be required to return and serve here for 10 years in Sri Lanka. “Expressway rush hour toll fee has been increased by Rs. 100. According to the new tax revisions on vehicles, the Production tax on Petrol vehicles less than 1000cc has been increased by Rs. 175,000 and that on the petrol vehicles less than 1300cc has been increased by Rs. 500,000. Production tax on Petrol vehicles less than 800cc will be increased by Rs. 150,000. (Daily Island, 6.3.2019)

Presenting the fifth budget of the current government and the 73rd national budget of Sri Lanka Samaraweera also said: Cigarette prices will be increased by five rupees from mid-night yesterday. Fees charged for the issuing of passports will be revised from July 1 and accordingly fee for one day service has been increased to Rs 15,000 and fee for regular service has been increased to Rs 3,500. “Enterprise Sri Lanka loan scheme will be spread across the country. Rs. 500 million has been allocated for the programme and Rs 60 billion already disbursed to over 30,000 recipients.  Action will be taken against bank officers who discourage Small and Medium Enterprises,” the minister said, adding that a hotline ‘1925’ is available to lodge complaints. The Finance Minister observed that only 30 percent of women were represented in the labour market of the country though 50 percent of university students were female and, therefore, he proposed amending labour laws to allow women to work from home and under flexible working hours. Samaraweera also stressed the need for more women in decision-making positions in the business sector. Tax concessions would be provided to companies that grant three-months of maternity leave. The Budget encouraged firms with over 250 workers to provide day care facilities for children of workers, he said Referring the need to combat the drug menace, the Minister proposed to establish special rehabilitation camps in Weerawila and Ambepussa for drug addicts. Females in prisons would be given the opportunity to learn arts and craft at a special facility in Dompe with an allocation of Rs 50 million, Samaraweera said. The budget also proposes a series of new loan schemes in the Budget 2019. It proposes to introduce a housing loan scheme ‘Home Sweet Home’ for newly wedded couples to repay within 25 years at a 6 percent interest rate. Rs 10 million concessionary loan will be given to middle income earners to buy their first house. He said that ‘Dream Home’ loans would be introduced for registered migrant workers to obtain Rs.10 million with two year grace period to be paid within 15 years. Students who could not get into universities after the AL exam would be provided ‘My Future’ interest free loans up to Rs 1.1 million with two years grace period to enrol at non-state universities. It has also been proposed to allocate Rs.600 million to expand ‘1990 Suwaseriya Ambulance Service’ throughout the country and improve parking places for them. With reference to foreign investments, the minister said foreign companies would not be allowed to bid without establishing a joint venture with a local company. The Minister said that Rs 48 billion had been allocated for the Gamperaliya development programme. He also disclosed that an expressway to Jaffna would be finished before the end of the tenure of the government. He said that the Outer Circular Highway construction would be completed this year and Ruwanpura Expressway construction too would commence this year. The Budget 2019 also proposes to construct two new harbours at Pesalai and Mandaitivu as fish exports to Europe increased after the restoration of GSP+ tariff concession. Other budget concessions and revenue measures were announced. (Daily Island, 6.3.2019)  

Sri Lanka has raised $2.4 billion as it returned to the international bond market for the first time since a political crisis triggered rating downgrades, the central bank announced. A power struggle between the president and the prime minister late last year prompted three international rating agencies to downgrade Sri Lanka, forcing the government to abandon plans to borrow overseas. With the end of the dispute, the International Monetary Fund has revived a bailout program with Sri Lanka, and Colombo has resumed its international sovereign bond sales. Sri Lanka’s central bank said it went to market on Thursday following the strong backing from the IMF which last week lifted its suspension of a $1.5 billion bailout agreed in June 2016. The issue of $1 billion in bonds with a five-year tenure and a 10-year $1.4 billion bond were hugely oversubscribed. Both bonds attracted offers of $7.5 billion, the bank said. The bonds were bought at an average yield of 6.58 percent for the five-year tenure and 7.85 percent for the 10-year bonds. Because of the political crisis, economic growth slowed to 3.0 percent last year, the weakest in 17 years, according to the central bank.  The IMF said it expected Sri Lanka’s growth to improve to 3.5 percent in 2019. (Sunday Island, 10.3.2019)

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 7% in February 2019 compared to the same period last year, the data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed. The month recorded 252,033 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 235,618 arrived in February 2018. India, United Kingdom, China, France and Germany were Sri Lanka’s top five international tourist generating markets in the month of February this year. India was the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 13% of the total traffic received in February 2019. United Kingdom accounted for 12% of the total traffic; while China, France and Germany accounted for 11%, 7% and 7% respectively. Arrivals from North America rose 61.7 percent to 16,280 in February and the arrivals from US rose 61.7 percent to 9,678 during the month while arrivals from Canada increased 61.8 percent. Tourist arrivals from Europe increased by 11.4 percent with the arrival of 135,934 tourists. Most of the tourists came from UK (29,750), followed by France (17,295), Germany (17,268), and Russian Federation (13,008). Tourist arrivals from Middle East declined by 5.2 percent with the arrival of 3,691 visitors compared to the 3,894 arrived in February 2018. Tourist arrivals from Asia & Pacific declined by 3.8 percent with 94,058 arriving in the island. Tourist arrivals from India declined by 1.9 percent with 32,286 visitors arriving while arrivals from China fell by 22.0 percent to record 28,039 arrivals. Arrivals from Australia recorded 54.8 percent increase with 8,810 visitors entering the country in February 2019. (Daily Island, 11.3.2019)

A concessionary loan agreement for JPY 30,040 million (approx. Rs. 48 billion) was signed yesterday between the Government of Sri Lanka and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for engineering services and construction of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) line between Malabe and Colombo Fort. 
The loan will finance Sri Lanka’s first rail-based, electrified urban mass rapid transit line. It will serve to connect the Colombo’s commercial hub with the administrative capital, and significantly reduce travel time in the most congested transport corridor in the country, and the only major corridor currently not supported by railway. The Malabe-Fort LRT line has a total length of approximately 16 km, with 16 stations. The stations are placed at frequently accessed locations and include Malabe – IT Park, Battaramulla, Rajagiriya, Cotta Road Railway Station and National Hospital up to current Fort/Pettah Railway Station. The entire rail track and stations will be on elevated viaducts to minimise requirement of land acquisition. At peak travel times in the morning and evening, trains are planned to run every two to three minutes (headway). Each four-carriage train will have a passenger capacity of over 800, which could be increased by adding more carriages in future when necessary. With an 80km/h top speed, travel time from Malabe to Fort will be approximately 30 minutes (incl. stopping time at stations) with the LRT. The Government of Sri Lanka has requested for the cost of infrastructure, rolling stock and engineering services to be financed through a series of time-slice loans from JICA, in line with the annual fund requirement for the project. High quality Japanese technology would be used to establish Sri Lanka’s first urban electric light rail line. In order to promote technology transfer and economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan, JICA’s loans for this Project are provided under Special Terms for Economic Partnership, with interest rates of 0.1% p.a. for civil works and equipment cost, 0.01% p.a. for engineering services cost and 40 year repayment period including 12 years’ grace period. To facilitate inter-connectivity with other public transport modes, multi modal terminals are proposed at Malabe (together with bus terminal) and Cotta Road (connecting with railway). At Fort/Pettah the LRT line will connect to the planned Multi Modal Transport Hub accessible to both railway and bus. Station facilities and LRT carriages will be designed to ensure accessibility to persons with disabilities, as well as passengers with small children and senior citizens. Although the elevated viaduct will minimise the requirement, some land acquisition is needed at the Depot and some of the Station locations. The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, the executing agency for the Project, will conduct such acquisition in accordance with the National Involuntary Resettlement Policy, and JICA’s environmental and social considerations guidelines to ensure inclusive development through public projects. Since the railway tracks and stations are constructed at high elevation and over national roadways with high traffic volume, appropriate safety measures during construction are critical to ensure the safety of the construction personnel and the general public. JICA will continue to pay special attention to safety aspects in implementation of the project. (Daily Financial Times, 12.3.2019)

Land prices in Colombo, in the second half of 2018, have increased by 18% compared to the 2nd half of 2017, according to the Land Price Index (LPI) for Colombo District, compiled by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). “The index has reached 125.9 during the 2nd half of 2018, recording an increase of 18 per cent compared to the 2nd half of 2017. The three sub–indices of LPI, namely residential, commercial and industrial have contributed to this increase,” CBSDL said issuing a press release. CBSL adds that LPI is compiled covering all Divisional Secretariat (DS) divisions of  the Colombo District using per perch bare land prices collected from the Government Valuation Department in order to monitor the developments in the real estate sector. To maintain homogeneity, three separate sub-indices for residential, commercial and industrial lands are computed, considering the diverse nature of the land use, and the overall LPI is calculated by taking the average of these three sub-indices Daily Island, 12.3.2019)

Tourist earnings rose to $ 4,381 million in 2018, in comparison to $ 3,925 million in 2017, the Central Bank said this week but workers remittances declined by 2.1% to $ 7 billion last year.  Workers’ remittances in December 2018 declined by 13%, year-on-year, to $ 584 million. On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances recorded a decline of 2.1% to $ 7,015 million in 2018, from $ 7,164 million in 2017. Tourist arrivals recorded a growth of 3.5% in December 2018, resulting in a total of 2.3 million arrivals during 2018, compared to 2.1 million arrivals in 2017. Tourist arrivals from all major regions, except East Asia and the Middle East, increased in 2018.India remained as the leading source country for tourist arrivals in 2018, while China remained the second largest origin, albeit with a marginal decline, followed by the UK, Germany, and Australia. With the growth in tourist arrivals, and an increase in estimated average spending by tourists, earnings from tourism recorded a healthy growth of 11.6% during 2018. (Daily Financial Times, 16.3.2019)

Sri Lanka has obtained a US$ one billion (Rs 178 billion) loan from China Exim Bank for the construction of first stage of the Central Expressway project.  The loan is required for the construction of the Kadwatha-Mirigama section – a stretch of 37.09 km — began in 2015 soon after the United National Front Government was elected to power. “Sri Lanka’s financial situation, political issues and adverse reports about utilisation of funds for various projects delayed the approval of the loan,” ERD  Director General R.M.P. Rathnayake said..  The expressway’s first phase was due to be completed by June next year, but it would now take about three more years. Road Development Authority Chairman Nihal Suriyaarachchi said the completion of the Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch would enable the linking of the southern expressway to the first phase. The extended sections of the Southern Expressway — Matara to Beliatta (30 Km), Beliatta to Wetiya (26Km) and Wetiya to Andarawewa (15 Km) and Andarawewa to Mattala and Hambantota (25 Km) — would be ready for opening in August this year, he said (Sunday Times, 17.3.2019)

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) commenced the implementation of the cloud seeding project where moderate artificial rainfall was experienced in the catchment areas of the Maussakele reservoir. Sri Lanka Air Force deployed a Y-12 aircraft to introduce the chemicals into the cloud in order to induce the showers. The Y-12 aircraft hovered above the reservoir at 8000 feet which is reported to have produced a moderate rainfall for about 45 minutes, according to a senior Sri Lanka Air Force official .A team of artificial rain experts from Thailand had provided the necessary technical assistance to carry out the project upon a request put forward by the CEB. A CEB official noted that a similar artificial rain project was carried out successfully in the catchment areas of the Maussakele and Castlereigh reservoirs in 1980. (Times online, 22.3.2019)

Inflation rose to 2.4% in February from 1.2% in January, largely on non-food items, the Census and Statistics Department said.  Headline inflation as measured by the year-on-year change in the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI, 2013=100) increased to 2.4% in February 2019 from 1.2% in January 2019 mainly due to the base effect. Meanwhile, year-on-year Non-food inflation increased to 6.7% in February 2019 from 6.5% in January 2019 while Food inflation also increased to -2.9% in February 2019 from -4.8% in January 2019.
The change in the NCPI measured on an annual average basis marginally decreased to 1.7% in February 2019 from 1.8% in January 2019. The month on month change of the NCPI was -0.5% in February 2019. This was mainly due to decrease in the prices of the items in the Food category where vegetables, green chillies, rice, coconuts, limes, big onion and banana recorded significant decreases. However, on month on month basis, the prices of the items in the Non-food category increased among which the Education sub-category recorded the highest increase. Further, Health, Transport, Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, and Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels sub-categories also reported increases during the month.  The core inflation, which reflects the underlying inflation in the economy, increased from 5.1% in January 2019 to 5.5% in February 2019 on year-on-year basis. Meanwhile, annual average core inflation also increased from 2.7% in January 2019 to 3% in February 2019. (Daily Financial Times, 22.3.2019)

The Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank) of China has agreed to provide a concessional loan of US$989 million covering 85% of the contract price for the Central Expressway Project Section 1 from Kadawatha to Meerigama. The loan is to complement the existing expressway network, Central Expressway Project (CEP) has been initiated with the purpose of linking Colombo with Kandy and Kurunegala. Section 1 of the CEP will start from Kadawatha where four expressways, namely Outer Circular Highway (OCH) II, OCH III and Colombo-Katunayaka Expressway and the Central Expressway link through the Kadawatha interchange. This will create an uninterrupted connectivity from Hambanthota to Katunayaka or Hambanthota to Kandy linking several provinces and economically important ports, airports and commercial cities. The Export- Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank) has agreed to provide a concessional loan amounting to US$ 989 million covering 85% of the contract price, for the Central Expressway Project – Section 1 from Kadawatha to Meerigama. The total estimated cost of the project is US$ 1,164 million. Furthermore, this loan is the single largest loan approved by the EXIM Bank for Sri Lanka. (Daily Mirror, 23.3.2019)

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said the government would grant on arrival visas for tourists from 36 countries free of charge from May 1 onwards for a trial period of six months. Minister Amaratunga said that tourists from the countries such as those in European Union, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Cambodia and Japan would be given this facility. Afterwards, the Minister said it would be implemented for six months initially. “Depending on its success, we will decide whether to proceed with it further or not. They will be allowed into the country without a fee. Every year, there is a drop in tourist arrivals during the six months period starting from May. We will implement this program during this period in a move to boost tourist arrivals,” he said. The Minister said his target was to attract three million tourists to the country by the year’s end. (Daily Mirror, 25.3.2019)

The depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee between January 2015 and November 2017 has increased the foreign debt by Rs.626.4 billion, the Government told Parliament yesterday, but stressed that foreign investment increases showed that confidence in the Sri Lankan economy was improving. Responding to a question for oral answer, the State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne held the rupee had depreciated by 14.6% during the period in focus affecting the amount of total foreign debt of the central Government.  Rejecting impact on rupee depreciation from failing investor confidence on bonds, the State Minister said: “Depreciation of the rupee will lead to increase the foreign debt. This wouldn’t have happened if we took rupee loans.” “Foreign Direct Investment in 2016 was $1.5 billion. This has gone up to $ 1.7 billion in 2017 and was increased to $2.34 billion last year. This shows the growing foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka,” he confirmed. According to research, Sri Lanka’s total external debt decreased to $ 53,177.39 million in the third quarter of 2018 from $ 53,487.28 million in the second quarter of 2018. The external debt in Sri Lanka averaged $ 44,865.87 million from 2012 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of $ 53,487.28 million in the second quarter of 2018 and a record low of $ 37,098.10 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. (Daily Financial Times, 27.3.2019)

Read More →

SRI LANKA NEWS IN BRIEF (JANUARY 2019) – Compiled by Victor Melder                                             

Victor Meldor - eLankaForeign reserves had declined by USD 1 billion within the 51-day political crisis completely upsetting the debt management plans of the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, yesterday, making a ministerial statement in Parliament. The PM said he was confident of overcoming all the challenges in the economic front and the government would present a “people-friendly budget”. Wickremesinghe remained focused on stabilising the rupee. “The rupee depreciated by 3.8 percent within the 51 days of the crisis while other currencies gained value. From October 26 to December 16, 2018, USD 312.9 million in Treasury Guarantees, USD 29.1 million in Treasury Bills and USD 29.8 million in Treasury Bonds flowed out of the country. We previously had a target of reaching USD 8 billion foreign reserves by the end of this year. We had USD 7,991 million foreign reserves as at October 26, but this had dropped to USD 6,985.4 million owing to the political crisis. As per the estimates, we need a total of USD 5,900 billion to pay for foreign loans and interests this year. Sri Lanka’s highest ever loan installment of USD 2,600 million is due on January 14. Our effort was to manage this debt in manner that it does not burden the ordinary masses. That is why we had made far-sighted plans, but now we have to start again.” The Reserve Bank of India had agreed to provide USD 400 million under SAARC swap facility, the PM said. Asked by NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa whether the government had promised to lease out China Bay and Kankasanturai ports, Mattala airport and Colombo Port’s East Terminal to India in return, the PM answered in the negative, adding that only the terms and conditions of SAARC swap facility would apply to it.   The PM also said that another USD 500 million was expected from Chinese Panda Bonds and Japanese Samurai Bonds. He said that USD 1 billion was expected to be obtained from the international monetary market, adding that Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera would fly to Washington next week to discuss about it. The Premier expressed confidence that those would help arrest the depreciation of Rupee and stabilize it in the market. (Daily Island, 11.1.2019). 

Read More →