Sleeping Met Dept. comes out with lame excuse: shortage of stuff

 By Ifham Nizam

The country was short of six meteorologists, says Meteorological Department Director General M. D. Samarasinghe.

Speaking to journalists yesterday in Colombo, he said that most of the candidates, who sat the examinations for the Department jobs, ended up finding higher paying employment, elsewhere.

He said that their salary structure was not attractive despite handling a responsible and dedicated job. However, their utmost duty was to serve the public and in that regard they would go all out to keep the public informed.

He said that the storm which caused havoc in the southern part of the country was not a cyclone but a low pressure system. "If it was a cyclone the damage would be much more," he said.

They never expected the low pressure situation would cause such a disaster. But there should have been much stress placed on the strong winds and the public made aware of the possible danger.

Meanwhile, Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), would incur massive losses due to the damage caused by the strong winds that lashed Southern coast last Friday, knocking down power lines and electrical posts in many areas.

Ranawaka said the power supply to 530,000 homes in the South had been disrupted due to the gale force winds.

Five transformers, 1,050 kilometers of low tension power lines, 45 kilometers of high tension power lines and 1,180 electricity posts had been damaged due to the adverse weather conditions experienced in the South, he said.

Weligama, Habaraduwa and Ahangama areas have been the worst affected.

The CEB deployed 750 workers to restore the power supply to the South, but about 76,000 homes are yet to receive the normal power supply.

According to Minister Ranawaka, the actual loss suffered was yet to be estimated by the CEB.

The Minister was engaged in a tour in the South on Monday to determine the situation and to assess the restoration work taking place in the area.

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