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Friday February 23rd, 2024

Courts orders investigation into “wilful destruction” in Anawilundawa sanctuary

ECONOMYNEXT – The Chilaw courts have ordered the Department of Wildlife Conservation to investigate, identify and charge those involved in the clearing of the Anawilundawa Sanctuary in Puttalam.

Director-General of Wildlife Conservation, M G C Sooriyabandara told EconomyNext that the court order from the District Court followed a complaint made by the Department against the wilful destruction of a portion of the sanctuary, on the night of August 25th.

Sooriyabandara said charges will be filed against those responsible under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance.   The destruction is being considered a criminal act against the many species of birds, reptiles and fish etc. that inhabit these wetlands.

Initial investigations reveal that the wetland has been cleared to make room for prawn farms.

President of the Lanka Nature Conservationists, a former Deputy Director of Customs, Samantha Gunasekera told EconomyNext that the destruction is believed to have taken place under cover of night and involves about 2 acres of the Wetland.   Those responsible have dug up the area and prepared it for two prawn farms, he said.

While mangroves have been destroyed on previous occasions, of late, a lot of work has been put in, even with international assistance to protect these wetlands.  Villages have claimed that destruction of the wetlands comes with the blessings of a politician in the area, he added.

Declared a Wetland under the Ramsar Convention, Anawilunduwa Sanctuary is one of six recognised sites in Sri Lanka.  Apart from the various bird and fish species and amphibians living in the Wetlands, Anawilunduwa also attract many migratory birds.

Anawilunduwa is believed to date back to the 12th century and is a human-made cascading water system, which stores water for irrigation purposes.

It also plays an important role in flood control, retention of sediments and pollutants and also acts as an aquifer recharge.   While local residents have, over the years practiced fishing and traditional farming, the introduction of prawn farms around the area has destroyed the mangroves, EconomyNext learns.

According to a report published on Seacology, a not for profit organisation involved in environmental conservation helping mangrove preservation in  this country,  Sri Lanka is the first county to pledge to ‘preserve and replant all of its mangrove forests.’

A unique feature of Anawilundawa is that it is very close to three extremely different ecosystems; mangroves, the coast and freshwater tanks. (Colombo, August 28, 2020)

 

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  1. sacre blieu says:

    This is how they start the predatory acquisition of land. Giving false excuses in the name of development or export crops, and once they get the approvals, the encroachment begins with the shifting of fences or borders in an in-obtrusive way and illegally get the new boundaries passed by the local authorities or minister. The problem of animals raiding and destroying crop has been mainly due to jungle land been cleared and even border zones been encroached with the rapidly increasing population the problem. The drive from Putalam to Kurunegala was like going through a safari park about 30 to 50 years ago. These are natural forests areas and should be carefully controlled and declared as strict natural zones. The unceasing conflicts with animals and humans, and humans with humans, will not go away in the present context. Land grabbing due to greed and not necessity is persistant.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. sacre blieu says:

    This is how they start the predatory acquisition of land. Giving false excuses in the name of development or export crops, and once they get the approvals, the encroachment begins with the shifting of fences or borders in an in-obtrusive way and illegally get the new boundaries passed by the local authorities or minister. The problem of animals raiding and destroying crop has been mainly due to jungle land been cleared and even border zones been encroached with the rapidly increasing population the problem. The drive from Putalam to Kurunegala was like going through a safari park about 30 to 50 years ago. These are natural forests areas and should be carefully controlled and declared as strict natural zones. The unceasing conflicts with animals and humans, and humans with humans, will not go away in the present context. Land grabbing due to greed and not necessity is persistant.

Sri Lankans may need to wait for Monetary Board meeting minutes despite new Act

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankans may have to wait more time to read the meeting minutes of the Central Bank’s Monetary Board, a top official said, despite a new act that has made the central bank to be more transparent and accountable for its decisions.

Many central banks including the United States’ Federal Reserve, India’s Reserve Bank, and Bank of Mexico release the minutes of their monetary policy meeting to ensure transparency.

The new Central Bank Act passed by the Parliament in line with the guidance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) includes measures for Sri Lanka’s central bank to be more transparent and accountable.

These measures include releasing the Monetary Policy Report every six months and the first such report was released on February 15.

However, the central bank has not taken a decision to release the minutes of the Monetary Board meetings on the monetary policy.

“Going forward, one day this could happen,” Chandranath Amarasekara, Assistant Governor at the Central Bank told reporters on Wednesday (21) at a media briefing.

“Right now, we have just started working on the new Central Bank Act. We are not there yet. There is no such decision on releasing minutes yet.”

The central bank in the past printed billions of rupees to keep the market interest rates artificially low and provide cheap funding for successive governments to propel a debt-driven economy.

It’s decision, however, led Sri Lanka into an unprecedented economic crisis in 2022 with sovereign debt default.

It also propped up the rupee currency artificially in the past to maintain a stable exchange rate at the expense of billions of US dollars. The move also contributed for the economic crisis and later the central bank was forced to allow over 60 percent depreciation in the rupee in March 2022.

However, none of the top central bank officials was held responsible for wrong decisions to hold interest rates artificially low with money printing and propping up the rupee. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

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Amid mass migration, Sri Lanka to recruit volunteers as English teachers

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka is planning to appoint foreign and expatriate volunteers to teach English for Sri Lanka students, the Ministry of Higher Education said, amid thousand of teachers migrating to other countries after the island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis.

Over five thousand teachers have left the country with the Education Ministry permission using the government’s circular of temporarily leaving state jobs while tens of thousands of teachers have left the country without informing the relevant authorities, Education Ministry officials say.

That had led to an acute teacher shortage in the country.

Suren Raghavan, the State Minister for Higher Education said the shortage has aggravated because most of the graduates who have an English degree become writers and join the private sector due to higher salary.

“They do not join government schools. This is a problem all over the country which is why we need to have an online system,” Raghavan told EconomyNext.

Separately he said on Thursday at a press conference that he had spoken to Canadian and Australian High Commissions to get the assistance of where their English teachers who have experience in teaching English as a second language in South Asia.

He also said that there is a number of teachers in the Unite Kingdom have shown interest in teaching English and they have experience in teaching in other Asian countries such as Burma and India while the teaching would be done free of charge.

The new move also comes at a time when the country’s English literacy rate is on the decline, according to the Minister.

President Ranil Wickramasinghe announced the English-for-all initiative three months ago with plans to improve English literacy at school and university level. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

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Sri Lanka tea production up 1.4-pct in Jan 2024, exports up 6.8-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tea production was up 1.4 percent to 18.73 million kilograms in January 2024, with high growns falling and low and mid growns rising, industry data shows.

High grown tea in January 2024 was 3.56 million kilograms, down from 3.36 million, medium growns were 2.6, up from 2.5 million kilograms and low growns were 12.56 million, up from 12.32 million kilograms last year.

Exports, including re-exports were up 6.88 percent to 18.76 million kilograms, industry data published by Ceylon Tea Brokers show.

Export earnings were reported at 102 million US dollars, up from 99.5 million dollars last year. The average FOB price was 5.45 US dollars a kilo down from 5.67 dollars last year.

Tea in bulk was 8.5 million kilograms valued at 12.79 billion rupees, tea in packets was 7.8 million kilograms valued at 13.1 billion rupees and tea in bags was 1.8 million kilos, valued at 5.06 billion rupees.

The top buyer was Iraq with 2.5 million kilos, up from 2.1 million last year followed by the UAE with 1.99 kilos, up from 1.86 million last year.

Russia bought 1.98 million kilos, down from 2.0 last year, Turkey bought 1.72 million kilos, from 2.3 million last year, while Iran bought 1.32 million, up from 614 million last year. (Colombo/Feb23/2024)

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