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Parliament condoles MPs Harischandra and Hendavitharana

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met at 1 pm yesterday. Following the presentation of papers and oral questions, the House took up votes of condolence of ex-Member of Parliament Piyadasa Harischandra and ex-senator Dickson Silva Hendavitharana.

Condolence Motion on Harischandra

Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva:

I present the condolence motion over the death of senior politician Piyadasa Harischandra who represented Nivithigala Electorate in Ratnapura district.

He was born on February 25, 1929 at Ayagama village. His wife was a teacher and they had two sons.

He was interested in the left movement even while schooling and he actively supported its victory.

He dedicated himself for the victory of SWRD Bandaranaike in 1956.

To compete for the General Election in 1965 he resigned from the Government service.

He was able to obtain the highest number of votes from the Sabaragamuwa Province in 1970 General Election.

During his time as a MP, he participated in a number of social activities including the improvement of school facilities and establishing new schools in the seat.

He initiated to distribute electricity to many areas in the seat and built many bridges connecting cities and villages.

Many new roads were also built by him. He also involved in the improvement of transport, bank sector and health in the region.

He was also an artiste and gave his fullest contribution to Aesthetic activities. He also supported the Buddhist revival. He died in 2006, after serving 77 years.

Ranil Wickremesinghe (UNP):

We also join with the Government to express our condolence towards his death. He was teacher in profession. He represented Nivithigala seat.

He had a strong vote base due to his service. We remember the service he rendered to the country at this moment.

Ranjith Zoysa (UPFA):

He was elected in 1970. He was popular as a elocuent speaker. He volunteered as the organizer in Nivithigala seat. He was a humble character from a middle class family background.

He rendered his service to improve the conditions of roads and fundamental needs of the people. Therefore, he is remembered even today with gratitude by the public.

We extend our condolences towards his death to the family members and friends at this moment.

Vasudeva Nanayakkara (UPFA):

He was a good friend of us. He lived a simple life earning a moderate income. He rendered his service as a teacher to the nation.

He also contributed towards a transformation in the society.

He believed in social and political change that was strongly felt at that time.

He also believed in economic change. He was a pillar of strength in that process. We must be ready to face future challenges recalling the contribution given by our senior politicians such as Piyadasa Harischandra.

Thalatha Athukorala (UNP):

He was well-known as a good human being. He was brought up according to the Buddhist culture and led a religious life.

He was very close to people. This made him easy to enter into politics. He was sensitive to the problems of the people.

The religious background also gave him further strength.

I worked with him closely during his last year.

AHM Azwer takes the Chair

Chanaka Wakkumbura (UPFA):

When serving as a Government clerk, he was appointed as a teacher recognising his capabilities.

He led an innocent life. He had no vehicle to come to Parliament.

The people in the seat collected money and bought a vehicle for him to come to Parliament.

He improved bus routes and bridges in the region. He established two Government banks in Nivithigala and Kahawatta to allow people to save money.

He allowed his party supporters to stay in his home during the time of turbulence in 1977.

Deputy Speaker Priyankara Jayaratne takes the Chair

Kamala Ranatunga (UPFA):

Piyadasa Harischandra MP, lead a life that was always connected with the people. He was educated in the village school.

He carried on his political activities harmoniously. He was not prone to violence like present politicians.

He endured to supply electricity and renew the road system in the region. He was loved and respected by the public. I express my condolences to his family members and friends.

Condolence motion on Dickson Silva

Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala:

I present the condolence motion over the death of ex-senator Dickson Silva Hendavitharana. He had a strong political background. He got the party membership from Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

He came forward to protect the party from obstacles and challenges that arised during his time. He rendered his fullest support to the party.

He initiated to establish fisheries Samurdhi Society in Matara. Many fish stalls were also started with his guidance.

He came forward to offer employment for graduates. I hereby express our condolences over his death to his family members and friends.

Dilip Wedaarachchi (UNP):

I am happy for being given an opportunity to speak at the condolence motion of my uncle late Dickson Silva Hendavitharana. He is a well-known leader of fisher folk. He was competent in many languages like Sinhala, Tamil, English, Pali etc. He worked with late Anura Bandaranaike and President Mahinda Rajapaksa to elect Sirimavo Bandaranaike as the then Prime Minister.

Later he was appointed as a senate member and rendered a great service to the South.

My uncle Dickson Silva although was not in good health worked very hard to elect Mahinda Rajapaksa as the President.

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa:

I personally came to know Dickson Silva at a time when S D R Jayaratne was the Deputy Fisheries Minister and George Rajapaksa was the Fisheries Minister.Dickson Silva played a significant role with affairs related to the Bandaranaike family and Rajapaksa family. He had rendered a great service to the fisher folk. He was the one who popularised the Sinhala word "Deewaraya" for the fisher folk.

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena:

Dickson Silva was a exemplary politician who rendered a remarkable service to South. I can remember Dickson Silva stood as a giant to solve conflicts that arose within the party when we became the Opposition in 1977.

He also rendered a great service to make the Devinuwara area a sacred area.

As the General Secretary of the SLFP, I convey the condolence of the SLFP and mine to the family and relatives of Dickson Silva.

Social Services Minister Felix Perera:

He had a very close relationship with Sirimavo Bandaranaike. She called him 'son.' He had done a great service to fisher folk. He was the one who initiate and completed the St John's Fish Market.

A H M Azwer (UPFA):

Dickson Silva was a very good friend of the Muslim community in the South. He used to talk to them in their own languages Tamil, English or Sinhala.

We should not forget there are three senate members still living. They are Ananda Dassanayake, Jinadasa Niyathapala and Mashoor Maulana.

We wish them long life. He was a great person who will be remembered for the services rendered to the fisheries industry in the country.

Priyankara Jayaratne (UPFA):

I also wish to add sentiments of myself and family to the condolence motion.

The copies of condolence motion will be sent to the family members of late Dickson Silva.

At adjournment

Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said yesterday that the Petroleum Corporation has agreed to pay compensation to people whose properties were damaged when the pumps leading to Kolonnawa Refinery were repaired.

He made this observation in response to an adjournment motion moved by UNP Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake requesting the Government to ensure the people, living on either side of the Railway tracks from Colombo Fort to Kolonnawa, are found alternative accommodation before demolishing houses.

Ravi Karunanayake (UNP): First I have to say that about 1,180 families suffer from this issue. People of various communities are among these families. They have lived for 35 years there. Now, it is reported that there is an attempt to remove these people from their houses and give this land to a foreign company.

If you evacuate these people due to the extension of railway line from Kolonnawa to Fort, you must provide them with alternative lands.

Actually, these families have not become a hindrance for the railway operations on this line. If you really want to evacuate them, you must provide alternative lands and houses in Dematagoda. Do not kick them out from their lands.

You cannot say there are no extra lands to be provided. It is wrong, if you try to evacuate people by force due to the development activities of the railway line from Fort to Kolonnawa.

Lakshman Kiriella (UNP): The Government tries to evacuate people who live along the railway line from Fort to Kolonnawa. It is wrong to force them to leave because they are legally settled in these areas for years. They have deeds for their lands. It is good to develop and extend the railway line. But you must consider their grievances. You must provide them the alternative lands and houses.

Transport Minister : We are blamed for train delays for the past few years. I travelled from Aluthgama up to Fort.

I noticed the railway line has been broken in Aluthgama and everyday it is being repaired. The speed limit has been reduced due to these reasons. People get late to go to their workplaces and they blame the Government.

That is why we decided to upgrade the railway tracks. The Department has the right to evacuate people if they become a hindrance to train operations.

Six metres from both sides of the railway track should be cleared. The speed limits are being reduced when the roof tops of these houses are almost touched with the trains. We don't see this situation in other countries.

After receiving Court orders, we removed several houses.

In Kolonnawa people have occupied lands close to the railway line. This forces a threat for their lives.

It has also resulted in delaying trains.

The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation would pay compensation since these illegally built constructions had erected on oil transporting lines in Kolonnawa.

Number of Court cases filed by residents in Sapugaskanda, Kolonnawa and Kelani Valley are pending in Courts.

These people should be paid compensation. We will not evacuate them without Court orders.

These cases are now before Courts and we have to wait for verdicts.


Dancing training for ex-LTTE cadres

One hundred former female hard-core Tiger cadres were given training in traditional dancing and brought to Colombo as a part of national integration programs by the Cultural Affairs Ministry, Parliament was told yesterday.

Chief Government Whip, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena responding on behalf of the Cultural Affairs Minister to a question raised by UPFA national list MP Prof Rajiva Wijesinha told Parliament that these former cadres have displayed their newly acquired skills on national level cultural events.

Opportunities have been provided for artistes to excel in Kandyan dancing and drumming through 155 cultural centres which are under the Cultural Affairs Ministry and 2,120 art institutes (kalayathana) functioning under the Cultural Affairs Department. Asked to state that action that have been taken for record the best examples of these dance forms for television and movies, the Minister said measures have been taken to record and conserve best performances of up-country, low-country and Sabaragamuwa dance traditions. Performances under all these traditions are also been conserved by recording them on CDs. Action has been taken to introduce and popularise these dancing forms among the public by means of television while such items are performed for state ceremonies, and to ensure the conservation of these items, the Minister said.

The Ministry had initiated several other programs to expedite the process of national integration through cultural harmony, he added.

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