SriLankan Airline New Business Strategies of MRO and Domestic Flight services

SriLankan Airlines will negotiate with an Asian based air service company to begin a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) centre at the Mattala airport in Hambatota.

SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias states proposal for an MRO at the Mattala international airport was in the pipeline for several years but it never got off. We are now in talks with an Asian counterpart to get this project of the ground at least now and this MRO will help the bottom line of the airline to a great extent as they could harness big business due to SriLankan Engineering’s track record.

He further said Srilankan Airlines are going to re-evaluate to begin domestic operations next year by acquire two 40 seater aircraft for this operation and hope to operate regular flights to selected domestic airports out of total 12 domestic airports in Sri Lanka. and with increased tourism we see great potential in this project.

Commenting on the re fleeting of the airline by the end of this year they will have seven new aircraft increasing the total fleet to 20. In the next two years we will get eight more. Subsequently all ageing A340 aircraft will be retired and Sri Lankan will have a fleet less than 3 years of age. All these aircrafts will be for SriLankan Airlines and not for Mihin.

With the new aircraft the national carrier will add more frequencies to key destinations. The airline may not look at new routes but will increase frequencies to existing destinations that include China, London and India.

Korean company keen to start Mega City project in Sri lanka

Top officials from one of the world’s leading township developers, Korea Land and Housing Corporation were in Sri Lanka looking for a township development project to the value in excess of USS 5 billion.

The team met senior officials of the Megapolis Authority last week and informed that they are here on a fact finding mission to build a mega township development project which would be one of the biggest in South Asia.

The official said We are keen to create a new city in the Western Province in an area of around 300 hectares of land. He further said that with the new political developments, Korea Sri Lanka relations have reached a new dimension and they were also very impressed with the concept of Megapolis. This is the new trend of the world and we are happy to note that this is being followed by Sri Lanka even at this late stage.

The official said that they would clear the given land and have modem infrastructure in place for a ‘Mega City’ and then invite Korean and other investors from around the World to build housing, recreation, commercial and other facilities in it.

The company, then plans to link the proposed ‘City’ with a speed train which too would be included under the project. And ministry also said that they have similar projects located 50 km off the capital and they are connected with a speed rail link. Due to this link a resident in the ‘Township’ could get to the Capital in less than 20 minutes.

He said this proposed ‘Mega City’ would be self sufficient in every need of a modem population. ‘The project would have its own sewerage and garbage clearing system. They would also generate electricity from this waste and give it back to the Mega City.”

“Security too would be a prime concern and special cameras would be installed to even track each vehicle entering and departing. This would be based on vehicle registration number plates.”

Another first for Sri Lanka would be the special bus and speed train service where the station and the bus stand would have the route, arrival and departure times of each bus/train on a digital screen. He also disclosed that Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modhi too had requested them to build six similar models in India and they are currently engaging this.

Solar power electricity for over 800 houses in Hambantota

The solar power plant set up at Buruthakanda in Hambantota under the clean energy programme supplies electricity to over 800 rural houses. This is to fulfill the target is to achieve 10 percent of power generation using renewable energy.

The pilot project will try to realize the full potential of solar energy by mitigating risks associated with it, said an engineer attached to the project. According to a survey conducted recently, 11,000 families in Hambantota use kerosene oil lamps as they are not provided with electricity.

More jobs for Sri Lankans in Korea

The Korean government has agreed to increase the number of jobs provided to Sri Lankans said so following a meeting with Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiser Musthapha and Korean Ambassador Wonsam Chang. He further said korean ambassador promised to offer technical needs for local government institutions and developing bilateral ties between Korea and Sri Lanka.

Leadership Training Programme will be at Universities

University Affairs State Minister Mohan Lal Grero said leadership training will be carried out after enrolling students at university base. Accordingly, the training will be given at the university premises by the particular university for selected undergraduates.

The content of the training programme will be designed by the particular university. Even though, positive attitude and leadership qualities development components such as soft skills development, leadership skills development, exercises for physical and mental health, lectures for attitudinal change, etc. will probably be included. The courses for physical health will not be compulsory and the undergraduates are free decide in accordance with their physical status.

He feather said university students must develop their soft skills, physical and mental health to become complete persons and skills gain through leadership training will be an added advantage once they enter the job market and the training will be helpful to adapt with the competitive world and its needs.

Government loan for Samurdhi Officers

Social Empowerment and Welfare Minister S. B. Dissanayake stated that all officers in the Samurdhi scheme are entitled to receive an instant Rs. one million (Rs. 10Lakh) loan from the Samurdhi Fund. The Samurdhi Fund has exceeded Rs. 100 billion and all the Samurdhi officers can obtain a Rs. 1 million soft loan.

Samurdhi officers can utilise this soft loan for house constructions, other development activities or to settle a loan, which they have already obtained.

Sri Lanka is to face huge traffic near soon and suggestion to avoid traffic in Colombo

Motor Traffic Department of Sri Lanka has made a statement stated that they received 491,628 vehicles registration for first 8 months of this year.

Last year first 8 month vehicle registrations were 429,556 and it has increase by 14.45% over the year.

The highest numbers of vehicles registered this year were motorbikes and three-wheelers, which are 243,165 Motor Cycle registrations and 84,592 Motor Cycle Registration. In the meantime, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said made a statement that the maximum loan-to-value ratio for vehicle leasing has been increased from 70 to 90 percent from4th October 2015.

Gradual increment of the vehicle registration shows, the country’s urban cities and sub-urban would face a huge traffic in near future. It is government responsible to develop a proper transportation infrastructure such as below,

Improve Public transports of Buses (SLTB and Private)

SLTB ultra luxury passenger bus
SLTB ultra luxury passenger bus

Government should taken steps to improve their SLTB bus services into Normal and comfortable ultra luxury passenger bus at an affordable cost. They could run their SLTB ordinary bus service at low price as usual and ultra luxury passenger bus at premium price.

This would help the SLTB to improve their standard and makes Profitable venture into Government Sector,

Proper Time Schedule for Buses

If the Transport ministry could taken steps to improve timely services for Buses and control the bus movement by GPS and makesure same route buses would be compete at any given time. If any bus drivers drown over speed or misbehave with passengers should be fined and taken action against to them.

Improve Train Services

Government should take actions to improve Train service between main cities and urban rail service on demand. Still many of working crowed has using train transport to reach their work place on time, if government could offer frequent train services with much comforable in peak time, many people would not considered to by a vehicle on their own.

Introduce Metro Rail Services

there were some rummer articles state that government is planning for metro services within western provinces and it stated that the Metro is from Negombo from North to Panadura to South and Kottawa from West to hub at Fort Colombo.

If that news was not rummer, this would be great help to avoid Colombo traffic and this would help to save millions of dollars as fuel and time.

In overall Sri Lanka need an ultimate transport solution to avoid traffic in city, unless we may face huge problems when Srilanka reaches 2.5 Million Tourist arrival in 2020.

Better Transport system will make Better Eco Friendly Sri Lanka to cater many industry in near future.

Lets Develop Sri Lanka

How to take ERP Loan of 30% before retirement

Ministry of Labour stated that In pursuant to the Employees Provident Fund Act No. 15 of 19S8, as amended by the Act No. 02 of 2012, for each member of the Employees Provident Fund employed at present, release of thirty per cent (30%) of the sum having credited to his personal account, for the purposes of Housing / Medical Treatments is scheduled to be commenced from 27th May 2015.

It is compulsory to fulltill the following basic requirements of qualifications to be eligible to apply for these benefits (EPF Loan)

  • Should be employed at present.
  • Should have contributed to the fund for a period not less than ten years.
  • Should have a sum of not low than Rs. 300,000/ “ (Three lakhs) credited to his personal account (I.e., His membership account balance, audited by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, should be not less than Rs. 300,000/ -(Three Lakhs).

For Housing Purpose Loan

  • Constructing a house in his own land.
  • Purchasing a land to build a house.
  • Purchasing a housing property.
  • Settlement of a mortgage on a housing property
  • Settlement of a balance amount of a housing loan obtained from approved bank.

by the member

For Medical Treatments purpose Loan

  • Heart surgery / operation
  • Bypass Surgery / operation
  • Treatment for cancer, including surgery
  • Kidney transplant or Surgeries / Operations
  • Caesarian Surgery / Operation Or
  • Hospitalization for a period not less than fourteen (14) days, due to occurrence of an accident.

Applications for The health benefits could be made on behalf of the member, spouse and children.

The maximum sum that could be obtained for one of the matters of above purpose should net I exceed rupees Two Million (Rs 2,000.000.00).

Specimen application for the perusal of basic qualification* for the payment of 30% pre-retirement benefits is annexed herewith. Duly completed applications, as per the specimen should be sent by registered post, addressed to the Commissioner of Labour. Employees’ Provident Fund, Department of labour. Colombo 05. The top left hand corner of the envelope, should be clearly marked as ‘Payment of 30% pre-retirement benefits”. Pre-retirement benefit applications and brochures of instructions will be issued only to the members who have fulfilled basic qualifications, after the perusal of Information given In the aforementioned application sent.

For more information see below image or contact to Head office at 011-2368917, 0112368252, 011-2368349, 0112368350,0112368351

How to take ERP Loan of 30% before retirement
How to take ERP Loan of 30% before retirement

Commercial Bank open its new Bank services in Maldives

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has announced It is plans to extend their services to the Maldives following the receipt of regulatory approval.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC is a Sri Lanka’s largest private bank  have obtained an approval from both the Maldives Monetary Authority and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to set up a Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC  banking subsidiary in the Maldives. This would be name as Commercial Bank of Maldives Pvt Limited and Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC will invest 55% of stake and balance will own by leading group of Maldivian companies.

The bank start focusing into a new regional expansion after successful operation in Bangladesh, which entered in 2003, and Myanmar in June 2015.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC  is enter to Maldives with single branch at male and increase their presence and increase upto 3 branches in near future and The Bank is to offer Mobile Units and ATM service at a strategic locations and the bank is willing to offer range of services like savings and current accounts, fixed deposits, personal loans, housing loans, credit cards, overdrafts, commercial loans, trade financing services, internet banking, mobile banking, remittances and foreign exchange.

National Educational Book Fair at Monaragala from 20th to 30th September 2015

The Universal Knowledge Education Centre has taken steps to organize a national Educational Book Fair at Uva –Wellassa in this literary month; September 2015.  The Book fair will be held from September 20 to 30 at the Monaragala Community Centre from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The book fair is organized in Monaragala to benefit readers in the remote areas of UvaWellassa. And ranges of books are available at an affordable price.

Bus Fare for Kadawatha to Matara by Express Highway

Kadawatha to Galle – Rs.400/-

Kadawatha to Matara – Rs. 500/-

Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) formally known as CTB operaing luxury buses from Kadawatha to Matara from today 17th September 2015.

Buses will be start from every hours to Matara and Galle from 6.30 in the morning. The bus fare will be Rs 400 per person to Galle and Rs. 500 per person to Matara.

There are buses will be commence from the Kadawatha bus stand and stop at Galle and Matara bus stands respectively.

Free Wi-Fi around Colombo – Now Viharamahadevi Park covers Free WiFi

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) had taken measures to install a Wi-Fi zone at the Viharamahadevi Park to provide free Wi-Fi facilities to people visiting there.

The CMC said the project would be launched toda at the Viharamahadevi childrens theme park. Colombo Mayor A J. M. Muzammd together with chairman of SLT. P.G Kumarasinghe Would be present to inaugurate the Wi-Fi zone to the use of the public thereafter.

The Wi-Fi facility and the equipment for it were provided by the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) on a request made to it by the CMC.

The government had previously established Wi-Fi zones at 26 public locations including the Fort Railway Station, Pettah Public and Private Bus Stand, the Pettah Floating Market, Colombo Law College, Colombo Public Library, Dehiwela Zoo, Colombo Racecourse, Colombo Police Headquarters, Galle Face Colombo, Foreign Employment Bureau in Battaramulla and Colombo Museum.

 

Special train service for Esala Perahera (Kandy Perehera)

A special train service will be in operation from August 25 to 29 for the large crowd witnessing the Kandy Esala Perahera, a spokesman for the Railway Department said.

The trains will function from Kandy to Colombo, Colombo to Kandy, Kandy to Matale and Matale to Kandy, Kandy to Nawalapitiya and Nawalapitiya to Kandy.

The timetable:

Colombo to Kandy

The train leaving Colombo at 9.30 a.m. will reach Kandy at 1.15 p.m.

August 30: The train leaving Colombo at 7.05 a.m. will reach Kandy at 10.00 a.m.

 

Kandy to Colombo

The train leaving Kandy at 11.45 p.m. will reach Colombo at 3.00 a.m.

 

Matale to Kandy

The train leaving Matale at 3.30 p.m. will reach Kandy at 4.47 p.m.

The train leaving Matale at 08.45 p.m. will reach Kandy at 9.45 a.m.

 

Kandy to Matale

The train leaving Kandy at 1.55 p.m. will reach Matale at 2.27 p.m.

The train leaving Kandy at 10.45 p.m. will reach Matale at 11.54 p.m.

August 29: The train leaving Kandy at 11.55 p.m. will reach Matale at 1.13 a.m.

August 30: The train leaving Kandy at 2.40 p.m. will reach Matale at 4.03 a.m.

 

 Kandy to Nawalapitiya

The train leaving Kandy at 11.55 p.m. will reach Nawalapitiya at 1.52 a.m.

 

Matale to Colombo

August 29: The train leaving Matale at 12.40 a.m. will reach Colombo at 1.55 a.m.

 

4.42% of total Voters were rejected in General Election

Official announce that 517,123 votes rejected on 17th August 2015 General Election held in Sri Lanka, this is due to lack of awareness among voters on the complicated voting process and a large number of candidates.

In overall 3.3 Million voters who doesn’t vote this election out of 15 Million registered voters. The Gampaha district recorded the highest number of rejected votes, with nearly 56,246 votes has been reject.

Launching of 100 MW Renewable Energy Projects

Ministry of Power & Energy launched of 100 MW renewable energy projects on 10th July 2015,

In line with the Energy Sector Development Plan 2015-2025 of the Ministry of Power & Energy, action has been taken to increase new Renewable Energy projects. The plan will guide the nation to develop its entire renewable potential while optimizing energy supply through exploration, facilitation, R&D and knowledge management.

To start off this initiative, the Ministry plans to start 100 MW of renewable energy comprising of mini-hydro, dendro, solar thermal, solar power and biomass.

Milestone Target:

  • Increase the share of electricity generation from renewable energy sources upto 20% by 2020.
  • Achieving the target of meeting the total energy demand from renewable energy sources and other indigenous energy sources by 2030

For more detail about the combination of power sources and see below image

Launching of 100 MW Renewable Energy Projects
Launching of 100 MW Renewable Energy Projects

Ministry of Plantation Industries – Certified Price for Raw Rubber

Rubber Development Department of Ministry of Plantation Industries Convenient way to obtain the certified Price of Rs. 350 paid to you for a Kilogram of Raw Rubber from 1st of July 2015.

You have to fulfill the following requirement for that

  • Possessing rubber cultivation with latex crop of less than 50 acres registered with Rubber Development Department, But,
    • The person who enjoys the rights of the land though he is not the registered owner but a dependent of his or a person to whom the rights have been entrusted.
    • The person who harvests latex in such a manner the harvest is divided.

Can receive the relevant certified price upon obtaining the ownership certificate given by the Rubber Development Department.

  • Steps should be taken to obtain an ownership certificate after registering with the Rubber Development Officer of the area where your land is situated for obtaining the certified price.
  • Should sell the sheet rubber, raw rubber or latex directly to a licensed rubber dealer or to an institution that produces rubber finished products registered with the Rubber Development Department.
  • Should produce the ownership certificate issued to you to the rubber dealer when selling rubber as stated above.

 

You can receive the following certified prices at the time of selling rubber for a kilogram of smoked sheet rubber or latex.

Kind of Rubber Certified Price
RSS 1 and 2 Rs. 350
RSS 3 Rs. 325
RSS 4 and 5 Rs. 300
Latex Rs. 300

 

Please call the Rubber Development Officer or the relevant Regional Office of your area for further details.

This certified price can be obtained only for rubber sold after 01.07.2015 and for the rubber sold prior to that date Regional Office of the Rubber Development Department will pay as per the earlier method. Bills for payment for the rubber supplied earlier will be received by the Regional Offices of the Rubber Development Department only up to 10.07.2015 and the bills submitted thereafter will not be paid.

For more detail see below image

Ministry of Plantation Industries – Certified Price for Raw Rubber
Ministry of Plantation Industries – Certified Price for Raw Rubber

National Botanical Gardens earns record revenue

The Department of National Botanical Gardens recorded a revenue of Rs. 200 million from foreign and local tourists within the last six months. Nearly 935,000 local and 180,000 foreign tourists had visited the Botanical Gardens maintained by the Department at Peradeniya, Hakgala, Gampaha, Avissawella and Hambantota.

Free Sinhala / Tamil / English Translation Service

Department of Official Languages of Sri Lanka provides FREE Sinhala / Tamil / English Translation Services, Here you enjoy the service by Clicking Below Link

Click Here for Free Sinhala / Tamil / English Translation Service

To translate any documents you need to submits some basic information and you have to submit your required document through above link.

This would help All Ministry and institutions to enforce Sinhala, Tamil and English letters correctly in their documents.

Foreign Currency Exchange ATM now at Sampath Bank Galle Super Branch

Sampath Bank’s newest Foreign Currency Exchange ATM serves you in Galle 24 hours a day 365 days of the year with the best rates for your American Dollars and Euros. Apart from the ability to convert foreign currency to rupees this new ATM is also capable of serving you with all other standard features and services of an ATM.

No. 05, Wakwella Road, Galle

Foreign Currency Exchange ATM now at Sampath Bank Galle Super Branch
Foreign Currency Exchange ATM now at Sampath Bank Galle Super Branch

Ratmalana Airport to be used for more civilian transportation related to tourism

The government has drawn attention to utilize Ratmalana airport for inland civil passenger transportation. Ports Shipping and Aviation Minister Aijuna Ranatunga said.

The government will look into possibilities to carry out inland passenger transportation from Ratmalana airport as far as such activities do not affect the national security, Under this, flights will be operated to inland destinations such as the North and East. South and a few other tourist destinations.

Aviation authority has already discussed to conduct flights to tourist destinations with inland tour and airline operators. However, priority will definitely be given to the national security since it is above all other activities.

Assistant teachers for Central Province schools – Interviews in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya

Interviews to select assistant teachers for Central Province Tamil medium schools will be held on March 14. Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake said. Applications have been called from candidates who have at least three passes at the GCE A/L examination. Speaking at the Central Province monthly meeting, the Chief Minister said 3,000 assistant teachers will be selected from the island. From this, around 1,094 candidates will be selected from the Central Province.

Interviews will be held on March 14 and 15 in Kandy district. Interviews in the Nuwara Eliya district will be conducted from March 16 to 18.

 

Special bus service in Anuradhapura pilgrims to visit atamasthana for Rs. 70/-

A special bus service for the convenience of devotees visiting Anuradhapura on pilgrimage to pay homage to the Atamasthana was inaugurated by Internal Transport Minister Ranjith Madduma-bandara at the Anuradhapura Railway Station premises last week.

The bus service starting from two points, the railway station and the Anuradhapura old bus stand premises, will charge Rs. 70 per passenger to cover the entire atamasthana and bring them back to the original starting point in any of these buses.

Buses will be operated under a frequency of 45 minutes. They will cover the Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanweli Maha Seya, Jetawanaramaya, Kuttam Pokuna Samadhi Buddha statue, Isurumuniya, Sadaham Seya, Mirisawetiya, Thuparamaya, Lankaramaya, Sandakadapahana and Abhay-agiriya.

This Bus service was a great budgeted tour for the people to visiti Anuradhapura historical places too.

Work on Colombo-Kandy highway to start soon

Construction work on the Colombo-Kandy highway will begin immediately, Road Development, Higher Education and Investment Promotion Minister Kabir Hashim who was speaking in Parliament informed that government would start construction work on the Colombo-Kandy highway soon.

The Minister said the matara-Beliatta-Hantantota stretch of the Southern Highway will also begin soon after negotiations with the contractors He said the government believed that it would be possible to reduce the costs involved in the contract by 30 percent.

Referring to the Northern Highway he said the construction of the road had to be suspended as the work on the project was to begin without awarding contracts in a transparent manner.

Bank of Ceylon Branch to be open in Bangalore in India

Bank of Ceylon is planning to open their second overseas branch in India this year. This will be in Bangalore. The Bank also opened a branch in Seychelles last year. In addition to the local presence, the bank maintains an off-shore banking units in Male, London and Chennai.

Senior banker and BOC General Manager, D M Gunasekara said that overseas branches are highly profitable. The Male branch has gave us a Rs. one billion profit while the Chennai branch which was in existent for over 10 years made a profit in the excess of Rs. 500 million.

Locally the bank has a network of 618 branches, and 534 automated teller machines (ATMs).

More botanical gardens to be established in Sri Lanka by 2016

The National Botanical Gardens Department (NBGD), recently announced that they were making arrangements to establish more botanical gardens in several parts of the country by the end of 2016.

Accordingly, plans have already been drawn to establish six new botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. new botanical gardens are to be opened at various places which have been identified as zones with the highest bio diversity, including Horton Plains. Sinharaja Forest, Nuwara Eliya, Ambangamuwa, Sri Pada and Knuckles Range.

The ‘Seethawaka Wet Zone,’ a new botanical garden of the country, will be opened during the current year at Awissawella on a land consisting of 105 acres, to conserve the threatened Wet Zone flora just after its completion and it would be the fifth botanical garden in Sri Lanka.

Dr Wijesundera said that 81 acres have been developed under Phase I of this botanical garden project and it would be expanded up to105 acres in the near future. He jointed out that the revenue earned by the NBGD during the last year through foreign visitors, have recorded over a 17.2percent increase, compared to 2013.

Nearly 345,470 foreign visitors have visited the four botanical gardens that presently exist last year and in 2013, while the number of foreign visitors amounted to 293,454.

The income incurred last year was over Rs. 4.46 million, while Rs. 3.7 million out of the total income was acquired from the sale of tickets issued to foreigners, the Director General added.

Arrangements are in place to upgrade the newly opened Mirijjawila Botanical Garden with the aim of attracting both local and foreign visitors, as it was found to be attracting a low amount of visitors compared to the three other botanical gardens located in Hakgala, Peradeniya and Henarathgoda in Gampaha.

The Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens was opened after the completion of the first phase and plans are underway to complete the other phases to attract more visitors.

Government to develop a new national policy for tourism industry

Plans are under way to prepare a new national policy for the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake said.

Dissanayake said it has been decided to introduce a three year strategic plan related to the new national policy on tourism.

We decided to introduce a new national policy for the tourism industry with the aim of developing the Sri Lankan economy and living standards of the people. We hope to obtain the assistance of all for the success of this. And he said arrangements are being made to launch a special program to grant benefits for people in villages in line with the new policy. Creating new employment opportunities for Sri Lankan youth and making more spaces for village level persons to increase their earnings are the main objectives of this new national policy which is to be introduced to the Sri Lankan tourism industry.

Indian Government will build 4000 houses for plantation workers

The construction of 4,000 housing units for needy families in the Plantation Sector, sponsored by the Indian Government, is slated to begin in March, Estate Infrastructure Development Minister P. Digambaram said.

The minister said the construction of the houses for estate workers in the Central Province and Badulla district will be flagged off next month possibly by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself during a likely official visit to Sri Lanka.

The 4,000 houses is part of a 50,000 housing project implemented by the Indian Government for the former conflict affected people in the North and East Provinces and needy families working in the estate sector in the Central Province and Badulla district. With a commitment of over US$ 270 million in grants, it is the flagship project of India’s developmental assistance to Sri Lanka. It is perhaps the largest such project undertaken by India anywhere in the world.

Minister Digambaram said around 35,000 houses in the North and East under this project has been already constructed, it was yet to get off ground in the estate sector. The minister also said the delay in implementing the project in the plantation areas was partly due to the inefficiency of the political authority who earlier held sway in the upcountry plantation areas.

The minister said soon after he had assumed office, he had taken steps to hold talks with the relevant officials to speed up the building of houses for needy people in the estate sector.

He said choosing housing recipients will be done in a very transparent manner which ensures that there are no discrimination due to political or other factors.