Series of protests opposite Presidential Secretariat

Series of protests opposite Presidential Secretariat

Series of protests opposite Presidential Secretariat

Written by Staff Writer

10 Feb, 2020 | 8:52 pm

Colombo (News 1st): A series of protests took place opposite the Presidential Secretariat once again today (Feb 10). Protests included those that were carried out by employees laid off by the Railways, Wildlife and Housing Development Department, as well as other groups citing a number of demands.

Department of Archaeology

Employees who were recruited to the Department of Archaeology on a contract basis, and have since been laid off, blocked the road opposite the Presidential Secretariat this afternoon.  When Police officers intervened to have the protestors move to the Agitation site that has been set up, a tense situation arose.

The protestors who were formerly of the Department of Archaeology had been at the Agitation site this afternoon as well.

National Housing Development Authority

Meanwhile, a group that was employed at the National Housing Development Authority on a contract basis during the previous administration, protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat once again today. While riot squads were also in a position to aid the police, police officers attempted to minimize the traffic congestion created by the protesters.

Railway Protest

Meanwhile, another group protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat demanding that in excess of 1500 employees who weren’t recruited permanently in more than 5 years of employment, be given permanent employment. The protestors carried out their protests opposite the Railway Station in Maradana as well as the Fort Railway station.

The protestors allege that even though they were recruited in the years of 2014, and 2015 on a contractual basis, they are yet to be given permanent appointments.

Five embers of the group were given the opportunity of speaking to officials at the Presidential Secretariat. The discussion, which continued for 2 hours, ended without a consensus. Minister of Transport Service Management Mahinda Amaraweera arrived at the Ratmalana Railway Yard and met with protestors.

Minister of Transport Service Management Mahinda Amaraweera noted that these issues should have been solved earlier. He noted that this should not have been dragged on for 6 years. He said he has received a cabinet paper and when he received the draft, he has signed approved it. He stated that it has already been sent.

Wildlife Guides

Meanwhile, Wildlife Guides who had been recruited under the previous government also carried out a protest opposite the Presidential Secretariat. They demand that their daily wage of Rs. 700 be increased.

While 200 protestors gathered beside the Presidential Secretariat, 10 of them were given the opportunity to meet an Additional Secretary to the President. That discussion had also concluded with no agreement reached.

National Centre of Graduates

The National Centre of Graduates also carried out a protest opposite the Presidental Secretariat today. They state that even though they have a degree, that the Government has failed to give them jobs that are suited to their qualifications.

Ten members of the National Centre of Graduates were also given the opportunity of meeting officials of the Presidential Secretariat.

Unemployed Graduates Association

The Unemployed Graduates Association also carried out a protest opposite the Fort Railway Station today, demanding quick solutions to the issues they are currently facing. The protestors then proceeded to the Presidential Secretariat following which they held discussions with an Additional Secretary to the President.

A Wounded Veteran

Meanwhile, a wounded Veteran also carried out a protest opposite the Presidential Secretariat earlier today. He demanded that he be reinstated in service after he had been removed without any prior notification. E.P. Anuruddha Sumith Kumara had joined the Army in 2007, following which he had sustained injuries in August 2008, while in active duty.

He stated that even though he had been convicted of theft, that he had been given no notice before being laid off. This veteran was also given the opportunity to have discussions with the respective regiment head at the Defence Ministry.

Releasing a statement earlier today, the Army declared that this officer had served under the Sinha Regiment of the Army. They further added that under the provisions available to him at the Army, he cannot claim any sort of compensation or dues.

Thousands terminated from service grave injustice: J. C. Alawathuwala

UNP MP J. C. Alawathuwala noted that employees of many institutions are unable to carry out their duties at present. He said that thousands of people who were legally recruited for Samurdhi Banks following interviews have been terminated from service after the new government was appointed.

The Parliamentarian noted that a grave injustice was caused by these recruits. He questioned; was the government’s job opportunity program created to appoint people to positions left vacant by those who were terminated?

We are ready for discussion: Min. Bandula Gunawardane

Co-Cabinet spokesperson Minister Bandula Gunawardane noted that they are trying to find a solution within the institution first. He said if they fail, the solution will be provided through the respective subject ministry. The Minister added that if the issue is not resolved by the ministry, it will be put to the respective political authority. He said failing in that, they will put it to the cabinet, and if that too does not work, they will take it to the President. He said that this is the process and any issue needs to be addressed and resolved, therefore, they are ready for discussions.

Meanwhile, Minister Bandula Gunawardena spoke about the program to provide employment to graduates.

“The deadline to submit applications for this has been extended until the 22nd of this month. The application form can be obtained from the web site www.presidentoffice.gov.lk. This application should be sent through the speed courier service of the postal department, along with a letter from the Grama Seva office, the divisional secretariat, certifying that the applicant has been a graduate without employment for a period of one year, and this needs to be certified by a justice of the peace. Employment at a divisional secretariat level will be provided to graduates from an accepted university or a higher diploma of a similar level and is below the age of 45. During the one year period where these graduates will undergo training on leadership and in the field they expected to be employed in, they will receive an allowance of Rs. 20,000. After the training period, the trained graduate will be assigned to fill vacant posts at divisional secretariats. They will be placed under the relevant salary grades and given permanent employment. These graduates should be employed at the same divisional secretariat that they were posted at for a period of 5 years. They will not be able to get a transfer by virtue of any political interference. We have estimated that there will be about 55,000 to 60,000 persons.”

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