ECONOMYNEXT – The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) is calling on the government to immediately act on mitigating the human-elephant conflict in the country which has recently escalated making Sri Lanka the country with the highest number of elephant deaths in the world.
NMSJ Chairman former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told reporters yesterday that the authorities continue to ignore the seriousness of the issue.
“As a result, Sri Lanka has become the country with the highest number of elephant deaths in the world due to clashes between elephants and humans. Not only that, Sri Lanka has the second-highest deaths of humans caused due to the human-elephant conflict,” he said.
He said that NMSJ “studied the valuable research papers and recommendations of Dr Sumith Pilapitiya and Dr Prithiviraj Fernando, who are eminent scholars in this field. As we have been informed, this situation has also come to the notice of a parliamentary committee.”
“Today, 131 Divisional Secretariats in 19 districts in eight provinces are impacted by the human-elephant conflict. Also, the number of Divisional Secretariats where the human-elephant conflict is rapidly escalating is increasing annually at a record rate,” he pointed out.
“For example, the human-elephant conflict has spread from Hambantota in the South to the Madurankeni or Vadamarachchi East Divisional Secretariat belonging to the Jaffna District in the North,” he said.
“There are many world-renowned scholars in our country who study the facts and give valuable opinions and recommendations about the issue. Their findings and recommendations have even received special attention internationally. It is reported that foreign delegations also visited Sri Lanka to study these matters. Sadly, not much attention has been paid to their opinions locally,” he said.
At the same time, compensation for physical and property damage to the public must continue to be paid. As far as we know, no compensation has been paid for crop damage. Therefore, the government has to pay appropriate compensation for this damage. Also, in order to rid the country from this problem, an action plan needs to be planned at the national level.
Jayasuriya also said that he hears of several large scale frauds being brazenly committed in this country without any hesitation or fear. “It is a pity to have to talk about such incidents. The public did not expect a government consisting of politicians who often made promises to the people about clean governance and clean financial governance would commit such acts. It has caused deep embarrassment to the majority in this country.”
The government is not giving any explanation about the massive fraud of Rs. 10 billion that took place in this country with his involvement. This is clearly a serious blow to the confidence that the people of this country have in the President. It will mar his reputation. He should understand that Jayasuriya went on.
Jayasuriya also called for justice for the stranded migrant workers in the Middle East.
“Last week we pointed out the number of Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded in a number of countries, including the Middle East and the difficulties they are facing without any help or support.”
“We suggested that the funds created using their own money be used to repatriate these Sri Lankan workers. We pointed out that the fund holds around an estimated Rs. 14 billion. Following this, it was reported that the number of migrant workers being brought to Sri Lanka has increased by this week,” he added.
It is a piece of good news for all involved and it would have been a more valuable humanitarian act if these Sri Lankan workers could have been provided with all repatriation facilities from the fund established through their own money without being unfairly charged to return to their homeland. (Colombo, January 22, 2021)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana