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Prime Minister extends condolences to families of late political leaders

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa extended his condolence to the families of late Members of Parliament K.P. Silva, Surangani Ellawala, and Kapil Abeyratne in Parliament, yesterday. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa moved the Motion of Condolence.

K.P. Silva

Prime Minister Rajapaksa, extending his condolences to late K.P. Silva’s family, stated that K.P. Silva’s name is indelible in the leftist political history of the country.

“His demise is a major absence felt by all those engaged in leftist politics and the country in general. Our young politicians have a lot to learn from him. He was a symbol of the working class. Although the Lanka Sama Samaja Party left handbooks on politics, K.P. Silva allowed theoretical controversies. He later joined the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and continued his political ideology,” the Prime Minister said.

“As such, he became the first leftist party leader to emerge from the working class. Silva led the Communist Party until 1993. Most of the people who knew him referred to him as ‘Comrade KP’. Many who have been involved in politics in recent times do not know who he is. However, when examining the political history of Sri Lanka, the then Parliamentarian’s politics should be studied,” he added.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said, “Working at a factory in Kolonnawa and leading a political trade union, Silva soon became the leader of his comrades. He was one of the main trade union leaders who led the 1947 strike. Silva was also a leader of the government workers’ union.”

“Today, the pension rights and other privileges enjoyed by public servants did not fall from the sky. K.P. Silva is one of the few Communist trade union leaders who took the lead in those struggles. He studied political science at the Moscow Institute of Political Science in Russia. Many of the leading leaders of the International Communist Movement had close ties with him,” he added.

“K.P. Silva was a leader who was committed to the unity of the left, as well as national unity. He was awarded the People’s Companionship Award, the highest award in the Soviet Union at the time. In the midst of the breakdown, as a solo fighter, K.P. Silva did not leave the Communist Party. He did not suffer from the inferiority of political leaders who rose from the ranks of the proletariat. As a tribute to him, I would like to remind you that he upheld his political principles until his last breath,” the Prime Minister said.

Surangani Ellawala

Extending his condolences to the family of late Surangani Ellawala, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said, “Surangani Ellawala, the beloved wife of late Nanda Ellawala, a renowned leftist leader, worked closely with us both politically and personally.

“Surangani Ellawala was a descendant of the Tennakoon family, which had a distinguished history in the Ratnapura area, and was a close relative of Hector Kobbekaduwa. Therefore, politics was not a new experience for her. In 1967, as a private secretary to Nanda Ellawala, who was an active member of the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government, Surangani Ellawala was well-aware of the problems of the people,” he said.

“She was the driving force behind Nanda Ellawala, who represented Parliament from 1970 to 1977 and 1988 to 1994. After Nanda Ellawala, their son Nalanda Ellawala, under her guidance, went on to represent Parliament. However, he was later assassinated, and it was unbearable for her. I still remember her trying to share that grief with us,” he added.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said, “In addition to politics, she was an artist and writer. Her continuous service to the people of Ratnapura as a believer in leftist politics is commendable. Surangani Ellawala was elected to the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council in 1999 and was also the Minister of Social Services, Probation, Culture, and Housing. She also won the 2000 General Election in the Ratnapura District.”

“We mourn the death of strong women like her, who are politically and personally strong and steadfast, because our country needs them. I would like to pay my deepest condolences to all the relatives of the Ellawala family,” the Prime Minister Rajapaksa added.

Kapil Abeyratne

Extending his condolences to the family of late Kapil Abeyratne, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said, “Late Attorney-at-Law Kapil Abeyratne was a benevolent representative of the people. He served as the Member of Parliament in the Ratnapura electorate after the demise of MP Nanda Ellawala. From 1990 to 1994, he and I were very close both politically and personally.”

“As a connoisseur of leftist politics, his continued service to the people of Ratnapura was exceptional. Kapil Abeyratne was a descendant of the Abeyratne family who had a distinguished history in Ratnapura’s politics. His father and brother also served as Mayors of Ratnapura. Therefore politics was not new to him,” he added.

“Kapil Abeyratne also served as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment from 1997 to 1999. In 2011 during our government, he contested the Ratnapura Municipal Council election and secured the highest number of preferential votes. Dedicated to the service of the people as the Mayor of Ratnapura until his death, Abeyratne was a public representative who rendered an invaluable service to the people of Ratnapura,” the Premier said.

“It is unfortunate for all of us to say goodbye to such a committed public representatives at such a crucial moment of the country’s history. I extend my deepest condolences to all his relatives, including the two beloved daughters of the Abeyratne family who work closely with us. I wish that Kapil Abeyratne attains the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana,” he added.

 


Late Governor Ellawala rendered yeoman service: Dinesh

The late Surangani Ellawala rendered a yeoman service to the people of Ratnapura as Parliamentarian, as well as to the Central Province as a Governor, Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday.

He said so moving the Condolence Motion on the late Parliamentarian Surangani Ellawala, who passed away at the age of 76 years on March 14, 2016.

Surangani Ellawala was born to Kuruvita Navadun Koral D. Tennakoon and Seelawathi Delgoda Kalawana Kumarihami in 1939. She studied at Ferguson College, Ratnapura, and was an artiste with many talents, the Leader of the House said.

Surangani was the wife of late Parliamentarian Nanda Ellawala and mother of late Parliamentarian Nalanda Ellawala. She contested the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council election in 1999 and the General Election on October 10, 2000, from the People’s Alliance and won both times. She functioned as a Parliamentarian until October 10, 2001, he added.

She was appointed Governor of the Central Province in 2015 by former President Maithripala Sirisena and remained in the office until 2016, Gunawardena said.

He proposed that the official copy of the Condolence Motion should be sent to her family members.

 


Late K.P. Silva rose to politics from the working class: Dinesh

Former Member of Parliament and the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Communist Party, the late K.P. Silva, was a politician who rose from the working class, Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday.

He was moving the Condolence Motion on late Parliamentarian K.P. Silva, who passed away at the age of 96 years on March 9, 2019.

K.P. Silva was born at Thalpitiya in Wadduwa, Kalutara, on April 28, 1923. He received his education from the Thalpitiya College and Wadduwa Junior College before going on to get a Social Sciences Degree from the Moscow Institute of Political Science in Russia. He was an eloquent speaker of the Sinhala, Tamil, English, and Russian languages.

He later married Somawathi Alwis. Their son, Hemantha Kumara Silva, became a doctor. K.P. Silva also joined Lanka Sama Samaja Party, the Viplawakari Sama Samaja Party, and the Sri Lanka Communist Party. He was appointed the General Secretary of the latter. Silva joined hands with all the progressive leaders in the country and represented the Communist Party in Parliament.

Minister Dinesh Gunawardena proposed that the official copy of the Condolence motion should be sent to family members of the late Parliamentarian.

 


Import restrictions aimed at uplifting local industries, not pressuring people - Semasinghe

The government restricted the importation of certain goods not to pressure people, but to allow local industries to flourish, State Minister of Microfinance and Self Employment Shehan Semasinghe said in Parliament yesterday. He was participating in the debate on three regulations under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act.

In reply to a Point of Order raised by the Opposition, State Minister Semasinghe said that the revocation of the Extraordinary Gazette Notification issued by the Minister of Finance allowing the importation of tiles and bathroom kits due to lack of resources and rising prices was done at the request of tile manufacturers.

He added that the President held discussions with the manufacturers of tiles and other ceramic products, at which the manufacturers had agreed to increase production within two weeks.

“If that is not enough, steps would be taken to import products in a limited manner. Steps will be taken to import such supplies if they are not able to meet the demand locally,” Semasinghe said.

“When the government came to power, the country was facing many challenges. The economy, which had collapsed due to the Easter attacks, was further affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, the government can solve these issues through infrastructure development, employment of graduates, creating a conducive environment for business, correct tax management for the convenience of taxpayers, changing the rules in calculating government revenue, and creating a conducive environment for farmers,” he added.

The state minister said the week starting from March 2 would be declared the ‘Week of Prosperity’, and that a number of development programmes will be launched to mark it.

He added that contrary to what the Opposition projects, the government has been able to manage the country’s economy properly in the midst of numerous challenges.

 


Government striving to strike balance between imports, exports : Cabraal

The government has issued a reorder suspending the gazette notification issued by the Minister of Finance on February 2 restricting the import of tiles and ceramics after reviewing the requests made by local manufacturers, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Parliament yesterday.

He was responding to a question raised by MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake under Standing Orders 27 (2).

When asked whether the suspension of the gazette notification was an order to Customs regarding the Import and Export Control Act, the Minister of Public Finance stated that the Director-General of the Department of Import and Export Control had ordered the suspension of Regulations 3 and 4 only.

MP Dissanayake inquired whether the head of a department could cancel the gazette notification put by the Minister of Finance on the Import and Export Control Act, and State Minister Cabraal said that the order issued by the Minister of Finance had not been revoked.

The Minister of Finance has stated that the importers had not opened letters of credit for the re-import of tiles and ceramics during the period from the issuance of the gazette notification to the suspension, Cabraal said.

He added that it was due to the limited time span and due to it being a period where banking activities were not functioning.

However, he said that in the event such LCs had been opened, it would be looked into and appropriate measures would be taken.

State Minister Cabraal said that the government was trying to move towards a stable economic pattern by issuing another gazette notification on Thursday in order to strike a balance between imports and exports.

 


Sajith urges Speaker to allow Ranjan to attend Parliament

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa urged Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to allow MP Ranjan Ramanayake to enter Parliament in the same way MP Premalal Jayasekara was permitted.

He requested the Speaker to allow Ramanayake to maintain his Parliamentary seat in accordance with his Parliamentary privileges.

The Opposition Leader pointed out that when the Court of Appeal has issued an order to the Secretary-General of Parliament to refrain from taking any action pertaining to MP Ramanayake’s Parliamentary seat, it indicates that his Parliamentary seat will continue to be maintained.

Moreover, the Chairman of the Election Commission had explained to Parliament that MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s seat would remain effective for the first six months of his four-year imprisonment.

Therefore, he said that not one, but several orders had been issued suggesting that MP Ramanayake could continue as a Member of Parliament, requesting that he be allowed to attend Parliament in the same manner MP Jayasekara had been allowed to do so.