Centre for Dengue Research at J’pura
On a proposal made by S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education, the Cabinet decided to establish a Centre for Dengue Research at the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, at a cost of Rs 192,632,040.
Cabinet approval was granted to implement the project within a period of two years.
Sri Lanka Mission in Bahrain
On a joint proposal made by Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, and Dilan Perera, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion, the Cabinet approved the establishment of a Sri Lanka Mission in Bahrain, to deal with matters relating to welfare of migrant workers and promotion of employment opportunities, trade and investment along with other consular and diplomatic matters.
Amendments to Antiquities Ordinance
The proposal made by Dr. Jagath Balasooriya, Minister of National Heritage, to bring in amendments to the Antiquities Ordinance No. 9 of 1940 and the Antiquities Amendment Act No. 24 of 1998 to suit the present day requirements of the country and to instruct the Legal Draftsman to draft amending legislation accordingly was approved by Cabinet.
Sidewalks for bridges
Cabinet approval has already been granted for the construction of 46 bridges on national highways with a loan of Euro 22 million from the Government of France. The proposal made by the President, to include sidewalks on both sides of the bridges for the benefit of the public, at a cost of Rs 79.5 million to be provided with domestic funds, was approved by the Cabinet.
The Cabinet decided to award the contract to the consortium of Matiere/Eiffage Construction Metalliques, France.
International Arbitration Centre
The proposal made by Rauff Hakeem, Minister of Justice, to establish the International Arbitration Centre, as envisaged in the budget speech 2012, by the President, with state of the art facilities, in a location in the city of Colombo to be identified in consultation with the Urban Development Authority, and to locate the centre for the time-being at the sixth floor of the World Trade Centre was approved by the Cabinet.
Diyawanna Green Garden
A proposal by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Environment, to construct a Biodiversity Park in the Diyawanna Oya area was approved by Cabinet. By setting up the park, the government aims to create a one-stop centre for visiting and obtaining knowledge and understanding for local and foreign parties and school children with regard to conservation of biodiversity.
Rare species of plants currently threatened with extinction as well as bushes and plants which can attract butterflies and birds are intended to be planted in this park. It was decided that the project should be implemented by the Urban Development Authority in partnership with Environmental Authorities.
Lanka-China Agreement of Economic and Technical Co-operation
The proposal made by the President in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning to enter into the relevant agreement for economic and technical co-operation with China was approved by the Cabinet. The Chinese Government has agreed to provide a grant of Renminbi Yuan 100 million to Sri Lanka, to further enhance friendly relations and bilateral economic and technical co- operation between the two countries.
Relief for farmers
The President informed the Cabinet that on representations made to him by farmer communities during his recent visit to the drought affected areas, instant action has been taken to direct the authorities concerned to suspend with immediate effect, the recovery of installments on cultivation loans and loans on pawned items obtained by farmers in the drought affected regions of the country due to the hardships experienced by them, until the harvesting of the Maha Season 2013. This facility will be in addition to the package of relief already provided to this category of farmers.
He stated that instructions in this regard had already been issued by the Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning to the Bank of Ceylon, Peoples’ Bank, National Savings Bank, Regional Development Bank and the Rural Co-operative Development Bank
Special Category for Academia
The Cabinet endorsed the views expressed in the joint Memorandum by Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development and S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education, that academics in the universities be treated as a special category, so that those who excel in academia can be retained in the universities. In addition, the Sri Lankan intelligentsia serving overseas can be induced to return to the country.
The Cabinet also decided to appoint a high powered committee to monitor the implementation of the proposals agreed between the university academic staff and the authorities concerned as the intention of the government is to develop Sri Lanka as a knowledge hub. The proposal made in the Memorandum of understanding to set up a Presidential Commission to make recommendations on reforms that should be introduced to the entire education system and on measures that should be adopted to retain university autonomy was also endorsed.
It was also agreed that there should be an effective dialogue with university academics. The Cabinet acknowledged the need for making university academics active players of the development strategy of the government.