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Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Gets Reinstated

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget

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Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on during a parliament session in Colombo, Dec. 12, 2018. On Sunday he was reinstated as prime minister, ending a political crisis.

Sri Lanka’s sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated Sunday, his party said, ending a 51-day crisis that had paralyzed the island nation and pushed it toward debt default.

The 69-year-old leader was sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena, who sacked him Oct. 26 and triggered a power struggle that brought the country’s government to a standstill.

Wickremesinghe had refused to step aside since being sacked and replaced by former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Power struggle won

Sri Lanka had drifted without a functioning government for nearly two months as the rival factions jostled for power in parliament and the courts.

Sri Lanka, Parliament, Prime minister
Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo. VOA

Sirisena had vowed to never reappoint Wickremesinghe, who he publicly castigated in speeches in recent weeks, as prime minister under his watch.

The acrimony between the two was underscored Sunday when Sirisena barred journalists from attending the swearing-in ceremony, leaving it to Wickremesinghe’s legislators to announce the appointment.

“We thank the citizens of the country who fought the illegal seizure of power and ensured that democracy was restored,” his United National Party of Sri Lanka posted on Twitter

President’s appointee failed

Rajapaksa, Sirisena’s appointee, was unable to govern, failing many times to muster a majority in parliament.

Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka’s disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa gestures as he arrives for a meeting with his supporting lawmakers at the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 29, 2018. VOA

He was defeated six times on the floor of the legislature before being forced to step down Saturday.

Sirisena suffered a huge setback when the highest court in the country ruled last week that he acted outside the constitution when he sacked parliament in early November.

The court also confirmed Friday that Rajapaksa and his purported Cabinet could not exercise the powers of the office they held.

Also Read: President’s Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional: Sri Lanka’s Court

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget, without which foreign debt servicing may not be possible.

Sri Lanka had been braced for a government shutdown as parliament failed to approve spending for 2019, and ratings agencies downgraded the country’s credit rating amid fears of a sovereign debt default. (VOA)

Next Story

Jewar International Airport to be a Growth Catalyst in the Region

Jewar Airport expected to create infra, generate jobs

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Jewar airport
The Jewar international airport is expected to increase the employment rate in the region. (Representational Image). Lifetime Stock

BY ROHIT VAID

The upcoming International Airport at the Jewar township of Greater Noida is expected to be a growth catalyst for the region, say industry analysts, as the project is expected to create urban infrastructure and generate jobs.

Accordingly, experts have predicted the project to not only boost the aviation industry but also a host of other sectors such as real estate, hospitality, tourism, transportation and construction.

“Jewar Airport will provide an impetus to the real estate sector in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway,” JLL India’s Chief Economist Research and REIS Samantak Das told IANS.

“Real estate developers and corporates will be encouraged to invest in commercial real estate in the region. It would lead to a jump in investment and infrastructural development leading to rising in demand for both residential and commercial properties.”

Jewar airport project
Experts have predicted the Jewar international airport project to not only boost the aviation industry but also a host of other sectors. (Representational Image). Lifetime Stock

Additionally, Das pointed out that apart from residential, commercial and residential segment, the demand for logistics and warehousing sector is expected to get a boost by development of Jewar Airport.

“It will also lead to growth in manufacturing and exports sector. Since the region is also near to tourist attractions such as Taj Mahal, Mathura, the tourism sector will also be positively impacted by the development of the airport,” Das said.

ANAROCK Property Consultants’ Vice Chairman Santhosh Kumar, said: “As far as job creation and value addition is concerned, the project will definitely give a major boost in the future.

“But again, this also depends on actual ground implementation of the project. As and when the project progresses, it will help revive the property market in nearby areas like Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway.”

Besides, Kumar expects the new airport to increase demand for the housing sector and even lead to an uptick in terms of commercial activities including office spaces and retail.

“More and more office spaces will erupt along the region as rentals will be relatively cheaper than Gurgaon and even Delhi,” he said.

Aviation industry insiders, including airline executives, said that the new airport, once fully developed, will aid in decongesting the Delhi’s IGI Airport.

“It will definitely expand the reach of air services to a larger population base of the NCR region,” an airline management executive told IANS.

Locals of the Jewar township told IANS that they expect more employment opportunities arising out of the airport development.

Jewar international airport
Aviation industry insiderssaid that the new airport, once fully developed, will aid in decongesting the Delhi’s IGI Airport. (Representational Image). Pixabay

“Future generations will be able to reap more employment opportunities as a direct result of the airport development,” Ashok Kumar, a resident of Ranhera village of Jewar township told IANS.

“Employment opportunities in transport and hospitality sectors are being scouted even by the current working generation.”

However, others like Naipal Singh of Rohi village, though supportive of the project is not satisfied with the compensation given by the state government for acquisition of his land parcel for the airport project.

Last month, Zurich Airport International AG was selected as the concessionaire for developing the airport at Jewar.

The company, headquartered in Switzerland, made the highest per-passenger bid for the airport. The Swiss company operates the Zurich Airport, and eight airports in Latin America.

“Under a 40-year concession, the Flughafen Zurich AG will build and manage the new greenfield airport in Jewar. The new airport will be located around 80 km south of Delhi and will be fundamental to accommodate the expected flight traffic growth rates in the National Capital Region,” the company had said.

“The capital investment associated with the first phase is expected to amount to roughly CHF (Swiss francs) 650 million during the construction period of approximately four years. The first phase will be able to accommodate around 12 million passengers per year,” it added.

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The Noida International Airport will come up in a 5,000-hectare area and is estimated to cost around Rs 30,000 crore.

The first phase of the airport will be spread over 1,334 hectares and cost Rs 4,588 crore. It is expected to be completed by 2023. (IANS)