Bangladesh Independence Day Celebrated in Colombo


Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo observed the 52nd Anniversary of Independence and National Day of Bangladesh with due fervor and festivities on 26thand 27thMarch 2023.

The observance commenced at the chancery in the morning of 26th March with ceremonial hoisting of the National Flag by High Commissioner Tareq Md Ariful Islam, placing of floral wreath at the portrait of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and observing one-minute silence as a mark of respect to the martyrs of the glorious war of liberation. Then in an in-house programme, messages of the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and State Minster for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh were read out; a documentary was screened; and special prayers were offered for the continued peace, progress and prosperity of the nation and seeking eternal peace for themartyrs,Father of the Nation and his martyred family members and four national leaders.

Taking part in an open discussion session, High Commission officials reflected on the significance of the day. In his remarks, High Commissioner Islam paid homage to millions of martyrs and highlighted the life and works of Bangabandhu and the development journey of Bangladesh under the pragmatic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The High Commission hosted a reception at the ShangriLahotel, Colombo in the evening of 27th March. Minister of Education of Sri Lanka graced the event as Chief Guestand, in his address, conveyed the best wishes to the people of Bangladesh from the President of Sri Lanka.The reception was attended by a large number of guests including Cabinet Ministers, Heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations based in Colombo, diplomats, MPs, senior political leaders, high civil and military officials, professionals, business leaders, members of civil society, and members of Bangladesh community.

Notable among the high dignitaries of Sri Lanka were former President and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Speaker of the Parliament, Chief Justice, Foreign Minister, Minister of Ports and Shipping, Governor of Central Bank, State Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Education, Attorney-General, former Foreign Minister GL Peiris, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Chief of Defence Staff, and Commanders of Army and Air Force. High dignitaries also joined the High Commissioner in cutting a cake wishing long lasting friendship between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Photo Credit: Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo
Photo Credit: Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo

US to boost electric mobility in Sri Lanka

The U.S. government, through its development agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is committed to accelerating clean energy to drive social and economic sustainable growth in Sri Lanka.

On August 16, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung attended a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding between the USAID Sri Lanka Energy Program and David Pieris Motor Company (DPMC) that will facilitate the electrification of three-wheelers, commonly known as “tuk tuks”.

Under this partnership, DPMC, Sri Lanka’s largest automotive company, will convert internal combustion engine three-wheelers to electric three-wheelers and offer after sales services through their island-wide service centers. USAID-supported Sri Lanka Energy Program will provide technical assistance to DPMC and establish a network of charging stations that will help build an enabling environment for the uptake of electric three-wheelers.

“The partnership between USAID and DPMC to electrify three-wheelers is innovative and exciting, and it stands to greatly benefit Sri Lanka’s economy. Plus, sustainable energy projects like this program help create a greener future for all Sri Lankans,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung.

The transportation sector is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Sri Lanka. Transitioning to electric three-wheelers will help mitigate negative environmental impacts, reduce dependency on fossil fuels and will minimize the foreign exchange outflows for fuel.

“As pioneers who introduced and built the three-wheeler industry in Sri Lanka, creating sustainable employment for over 500,000 people along with convenient and accessible transport to supplement both public and personal transport island-wide; DPMC is deeply committed to ensuring the successful introduction of the electric three-wheelers. We have been on this journey since 2016 and have successfully converted and tested several prototypes. With support from the USAID Sri Lanka Energy Program, we are confident that the infrastructure required to ensure market acceptance and commercial viability can be established,” stated Rohana Dissanayake, DPMC’s Chairman and Managing Director.

Rick Whitaker, Chief of Party of the USAID Sri Lanka Energy Program, and Naalaka Madugalle, Director/Chief Operating Officer, DPMC signed and witnessed the agreement on behalf of their organizations.

This is the second partnership announced by USAID’s Sri Lanka Energy Program for electric mobility. In June 2022, the program signed a similar agreement with VEGA Innovations to promote electric three-wheelers and support the manufacturing of locally designed batteries and inverters.

The USAID Sri Lanka Energy Program is a key activity under the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people. Since 1961, USAID has provided more than $2 billion (approximately 700 billion LKR in current exchange rate) to programs in support of economic development, entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, and environmental conservation, as well as other sectors, in Sri Lanka.