January 26, 2020
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    The Constitutional Council (CC) which was scheduled to be convene today (23) has been rescheduled for tomorrow at 1.30 p.m.Under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, then CC is the responsible body to appoint members to the Independent Commissions such as Police Commission, Bribery Commission and Election Commission.The Speaker holds the Chairmanship of the Council while the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are ex-officio members of the 10-member CC.

    More CSD personnel to help fortify elephant electric fences - Minister

    Environment and Wildlife Resources Minister S.M. Chandrasena in reply to Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’s question regarding the Government’s commitment to solve the country’s environmental issues, said that the Government has launched a project to recruit more Civil Security Department(CSD) personnel in order to help fortify the electric fences in order to minimize the elephant-human conflict.

    “Action has been taken to address other issues raised by the Opposition Leader,” the minister added.

    The Minister also said that three people had been taken into custody and produced before the Wellawaya Magistrate in connection with the shooting and killing of a leopard in the Udawalawe jungle. Court proceedings were in progress and Police are conducting further investigations.

    “In addition, another leopard had been found dead after getting caught in a snare at Yatiyantota in Kegalle on January 3. The matter had been reported to the court and investigations are in progress,” the minister said.

    Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday said in Parliament that there seemed to be an organized group engaged in killing leopards to collect their body parts and demanded to know what action the government would take to ensure the safety of the endemic animals facing extinction.

    Making a special statement, the Opposition Leader said that there are only around 1,000 in number of the leopard species known as Panthera Pardus Kotiya.

    “The sub species animal is native to this country. During the first two days of this year two leopards had been killed. Their teeth had been removed and front paws had been taken away. Signs are that an organized group is killing them to collect certain body parts of those animals. What action will the government take to protect those animals?” the Opposition Leader questioned.

    He also brought five other major environmental issues to the notice of the government. He said that in 2019 the human-elephant conflict left 120 persons and around 400 elephants dead.

    “What plans does the government have to manage that crisis. In the same way, what plans has it got to manage the crisis situation faced by the farmers from the damages caused by wild boar, monkeys and peacocks to their cultivations?”

    Premadasa said that there had been a number of killings of elephants during recent times and demanded to know the progress of any investigation conducted by the government in that regard.

    “There is a need for urgent action to preserve Wet Zone forest reserves which are the home to a number of species which are native and endemic.

    Therefore, Sri Lanka has been identified as a land with the highest biodiversity per unit area of land amongst Asian countries. What actions or plans does the government have to protect and preserve those Wet Zones?” he questioned.

    Opposition Leader Premadasa demanded to know the course of action being taken by the government to ensure the protection of the country’s marine environment.

    He also said that there are 343 animators working for the Wildlife Department on a voluntary basis and demanded to know when the government would be able to promote them to permanent status.

     

    Innovative policies to boost production - State Minister Indika Anuruddha

    Those loyal to the UNP who were appointed to state institutions by the previous regime are still in these posts. They brought Ranjan Ramanayake on stage and cheated over 5 million people at the Presidential election by uttering falsehoods, said State Minister Indika Anuruddha in Parliament yesterday.

    He said the current government is committed to uplift the local contractors. “We need to create a data bank at the Construction Authority.

    “The names of the contractors need to be fed into this database. The previous government had stated that construction contracts would be given to local contractors, but instead they had given these contracts to ministers and MPs of their government. MP Ashu Marasinghe mentioned about a deal. The phone recordings reveal certain parties claiming to support the government in the event Sajith Premadasa is fielded as the Presidential candidate. However, the biggest issue of the Opposition is that the Rajapakses’ have come into power. The previous government obtained funds by pawning the Building Materials Corporation under the Housing Ministry,” State Minister Anuruddha said.

    However, he said that the housing construction sector will have a better future. “By enacting these new laws and regulations, we intend to create a conducive environment to spur production.”

    The MP noted that the previous regime took years to complete the Colombo-Kandy highway. “There is no start or end. As a result the local industrialists are stranded.”

    MP Anuruddha said that none of the contracts for the construction of high-rise apartments would be given to foreign companies. “We intend to give these contracts to local companies. Due to the misdeeds of the previous regime, hundreds of thousands of people are trapped in housing debts.”

    Further, he said that thousands of youths are stranded due to the unstable employment placements provided by the previous government. “The employment of these young men and women have become unstable as they had promised them that they would be made permanent after Sajith Premadasa was elected as the President.”

    Measures on possibility of curtailing milk powder imports -Health Minister

    Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that action would be taken to look into the possibility of curtailing the importation of milk powder.

    She was responding to a query raised by Matara Distict Parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana yesterday in Parliament.

    She stated this, when MP Nalinda Jayatissa raised an interim question, pertaining to a question raised by MP Buddhika Pathirana seeking oral answers.

    The Minister said that a programme should be implemented to increase the consumption of fresh milk among the people and discussions are being held with the relevant stakeholders.

    The need to increase the consumption of fresh milk in order to ensure a healthier life for the people was also discussed.

     

     
     
     

    Measures implemented to introduce an insurance scheme for journalists in profession throughout the country and steps to discuss with Heads of Media Institutions in formulating a program to ensure that journalists are paid their monthly allowances properly was discussed by Hon. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (22).

     

    The Department of Emigration and Immigration follow the Electronic Travel Authorization System (ETA) since the year 2012 for issuance of pre – check up and approval to foreign tourists visit Sri Lanka. Although attraction of a considerable amount of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka is apparent, those Chinese tourists are not encouraged due to delays in obtaining visa to visit Sri Lanka as a result of the language barrier resulting form the implementation of Electronic Travel Authorization System (ETA) system only in English at present by Sri Lanka. As a remedy to these circumstances it has been observed that these tourists are to obtain assistance from private agencies when travelling to Sri Lanka. Accordingly the proposal submitted by the Minister of Mahaveli, Agriculture, Irrigation, Rural Development, the Minister of Internal Trade, Food Security and Consumer Welfare and the State Minister of National Defense to obtain the service of Travelson International Travel Services (Shanghai) Limited prossessing experience in a number of countries in catering the need is approved by the Cabinet of Ministers as a policy.

     

     
     

    Harvesting paddy of Maha season 2019 / 20 has already being inaugurated by now while a harvest of 03 million metric tons of paddy harvest is expected. As a result of avoidance of importing rice by the government as a policy although a slight hike of prices of rice can be seen; the decision leads to saving approximately 100 million US dollars of foreign exchange. The said circumstances have resulted in strengthening foreign exchange as well as decline of interest rates. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers decided that the government shall mediate in purchasing surplus of paddy stocks in the Maha season of 2019 / 2020 with objective of encouraging the private sector paddy millers to purchase paddy under a fair price to ensure sustaining a fixed price of paddy. Therefore it was further decided to implement the following decisions without delay.
    •Imposing a minimum certified price of Rs. 50/- for a kilo of paddy with the due standard (subject to the criterion of moisture.)
    •Minimum certified price of a kilo of paddy with moisture to be certified as Rs. 45/-
    •Implement the government programme to purchase rice through district secretaries / government agents as well as the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB)
    •Direct purchase of qunatities of rice required for government institutions such as Tri forces, Department of Prisons, Hospitals etc; from Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) itself.
    •Immediately entrusting all the store houses / warehouses under the purview of the Food Commission for storing the paddy stocks purchased for storing paddy stocks that is purchased.
    •Utilizing lorries and trucks belong to the government for transportation of paddy stocks
    •Issuance of pledge loans through state and private banking establishments approximately amounting to Rs. 100 billion under a concessionary loan interest rate of 8% for those purchasers including small and medium scale as well as large scale millers for the purchase of paddy under the certified price.
    •Entrusting the monitoring of the paddy purchasing programme in the pioneering districts of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Vauniya, Ampara, Batticaloa, Monaragala and Hambantota to several state ministers.
    •Immediate issuance of circulars required to implement the above programme by the Secretary to the President.

     

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